Boulders Come Crashing Down on North Shore

Work crews put road barriers back in place after removing large boulders.
Work crews put road barriers back in place after removing large boulders.

NORTH SHORE (KHNL) - Several boulders, some more than two feet wide, came crashing down the hillside near Waimea Bay on Oahu's North Shore early Monday morning.

The boulders left a trail of flattened trees, a smashed crash barrier and a broken fence. One boulder made it past the fence and ended up in the middle of Kamehemeha Highway, leaving a dent in the asphalt, but no cars or people were struck.

"Good news is the protective fencing we put in several years ago did hold up and deflected many of the boulders," said Scott Ishikawa, DOT spokesman.

The fence was put up in March 2000, after a rockslide that month. The highway was closed for more than two months while the fence was installed. A temporary road was built through Waimea Beach.

"If you look at the fencing, it did do a lot of damage and it's something we're gonna have to fix up," said Ishikawa. "But the good news is it did hold up, and did do its job."

North Shore residents say news of the rockslide spread quickly over the radio.

"It was like panic panic, you can't get around Waimea. It wasn't like that," said one longtime resident.

"I think they made a bigger deal about it than it was, because of the last rockslide," said another resident.

Ishikawa says he believes this was the first test for the protective fence.

"We're gonna do the best we can to protect the public," said Ishikawa.

Crews installed concrete barriers, to extend the fence and stop any future rockslides from reaching the highway.

Officials aren't sure what caused Monday's rockslide. They believe it could be the result of the recent heavy rains or possibly just erosion. They say they will look if a permanent fix is needed.

Residents say they weren't worried about driving past that area.

"I'm more worried about the hotels at Turtle Bay," said one resident.