Big Island Rock Fall Project Continues - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Big Island Rock Fall Project Continues

Big Island work crews manually pry a boulder free Big Island work crews manually pry a boulder free
Scott Ishikawa Scott Ishikawa

By Darren Pai

HAWAII ISLAND (KHNL) - More rockfalls have been holding up traffic on the Big Island, but this time it's intentional.

It's all part of an effort by the state Department of Transportation to address a safety hazard uncovered during the October earthquake.

Work crews have been digging out loose rocks in the hillside overlooking Hawaii Belt Road. Rocks and other debris fell to the road during the earthquake.

"This one we just had a lot of problems after the earthquake so we just decided to go in with a contractor and fix the problem before someone gets hurt," said Scott Ishikawa, DOT spokesman.

Contractors must manually dislodge threatening rocks, forcing the state to close lanes on the road below. Ishikawa said drivers should expect delays of 10 to 20 minutes.

"Some of these areas were going to be worked on eventually," Ishikawa said. "Mother Nature just pushes the schedule ahead a little bit."

The state said its finished the first of three phases on the project. Work is expected to continue for another two months. The total cost of the rock removal is $2.3 million.

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