HANALEI, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A single-lane route on Kuhio Highway to communities that have been cut off since major flooding last month will open to local traffic Friday.
It's welcome news for residents, but hardly a complete return to normality.
State Department of Transportation officials said the route from Waikoko to Wainiha will open to local traffic only.
Meanwhile, residents of Wainiha and Haena will be able to use a single lane on a limited basis, from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Also, only vehicle under 10,000 pounds (such as sedans, SUVs and pickup trucks) will be able to get in and out.
And the single lane will be open weather permitting.
"Safety is our first priority as we continue recovery efforts in the areas that were isolated last month by heavy flooding and numerous landslides," said Gov. David Ige, in a news release.
Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho called the single lane opening a "significant development."
"However, there is still much work left to be done in the Wainiha-Haena area," he added, "And while we continue to conduct these emergency operations, this area will be limited to residents only until further notice. We appreciate everyone's understanding, residents and visitors alike."
Local access to the 2-mile stretch of Kuhio Highway between Waikoko and Wainiha will be available on the following schedule:
- 6 a.m. Waikoko to Wainiha
- 6:30 a.m. Wainiha to Waikoko, to include shuttle
- 12 p.m. Waikoko to Wainiha, to include shuttle
- 12:20 p.m. Wainiha to Waikoko,
- 12:40 p.m. Waikoko to Wainiha,
- 1 p.m. Wainiha to Waikoko to include shuttle
- 6 p.m. Wainiha to Waikoko,
- 6:30 p.m. Waikoko to Wainiha, to include shuttle
Guided access via escort vehicles will be provided on an alternating basis with trips between Wainiha and Waikoko on this schedule.
Residents using the single lane route will be required to adhere to the 10,000-pound weight restriction and speed restrictions as indicated by signs along the route. Staging for the limited local access will happen at manned checkpoints, and residents of Wainiha and Haena will get placards for their cards.
To receive a placard, residents must bring their vehicle to the Hanalei Colony Resort on Thursday or Friday.
Access to the communities has been blocked since unprecedented rains on April 14-15 spurred landslides at several spots along Kuhio Highway.
The state said repairs to the highway are ongoing.