State Scrambles to Meet Severe Flood Needs - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

State Scrambles to Meet Severe Flood Needs

Traffic slowed along Kuhio Highway. Traffic slowed along Kuhio Highway.
Work crews repaved a portion of Kuhio Highway on Thursday. Work crews repaved a portion of Kuhio Highway on Thursday.
Ed Teixeira, state civil defense vice-director Ed Teixeira, state civil defense vice-director

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The state Attorney General's office Thursday opened an investigation into the flooding on Kaua'i.

The Attorney General has been given special emergency powers to enter privately owned lands without permission to conduct the inquiry.

Meanwhile, only one lane of Highway 56 will remain open for the next two to four months. State transportation officials say repairs must be made.

"Our highway's in good shape. It can take the load, but it will only be for one lane of travel until such time we can build up the embankment and make the road passable" said Rod Haraga, state transportation director.

The state will require all private dam owners dams to file reports on the condition of their facilities.

"We're going to immediately inspect their reservoir if they have not already done so and provide us with an update of their inspection pattern, their maintenance and operation pattern" said Peter Young, state land board chairman.

Governor Linda Lingle added: "The state has a responsibility to inspect them. As has been reported, we have a minimal staff that could be available to inspect dams anywhere in the state. Certainly not the kind that could do it on a regular basis."

To help drain reservoirs, large pumps will be flown from Hilo to Kauai aboard the Air National Guard's new C-17 transport planes.

State civil defense officials said they really haven't had a chance to catch up over the last few weeks, saying they've constantly been caught in a cycle of responding to an incident and preparing for the next disaster.

"In many respects, because of the advent new rains this week, we are still in the response mode," said Ed Teixeira, state civil defense vice-director.

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