Another Rockslide Shuts Down Kamehameha Highway

Scott Ishikawa
Scott Ishikawa
DOT Director Barry Fukunaga
DOT Director Barry Fukunaga

WAIMEA (KHNL) - It's happened again! A huge rockslide cuts off Kamehameha Highway.

The massive slide happened around 1AM Saturday morning and the boulders will impact the North Shore community for days to come.

It happened in the same area as the rockslide seven years ago. Even though officials say Saturday's one was much worse, the damage is much less because of the first one.

The massive boulders crushes the protective fencing along Kamehameha Highway. The view from Chopper 8 shows just how many came tumbling downhill. And they're not small.

"Some of these boulders are about the size of small cars, one of them looks like the size of my old corolla," said Scott Ishikawa, spokesman for the Department of Transportation.

Fortunately, no corollas or other vehicles were struck by the falling rocks and no one was injured. Officials say it was thanks to, in part, the work done after the 2000 rockslide, which included installing the protective fencing.

"It actually worked and did what it was designed to do," said Barry Fukunaga, state transportation director. "It was quite an achievement that they were able to put this system in here."

"During that project back in 2000, they also moved the road out as well, so obviously that was the right decision at the time," added Ishikawa.

The 2000 rockslide shut down parts of the highway for more than three months. Officials expect the road closure from this rockslide to be much shorter, probably just a few days.

"What we wanna do is make sure the situation is stable," said Fukunaga. "We've had a preliminary look see by our technical consultants and we feel that it's in pretty good shape, but we won't really know til we look at it from the top."

State officials are checking for human remains, because there are a lot of burial caves in that area. Once they get the okay, then they'll start scaling back the loose material. So they hope to have one lane open by monday. Until then, cars will be turned around at Waimea Bay at the Haleiwa side, and the church on the sunset side.