Crews Still Working on Waimea Rockfall Project

Scott Ishikawa
Scott Ishikawa

WAIMEA (KHNL) - Kamehameha Highway on Oahu's North Shore remains closed for the weekend after the rockslide early Saturday morning. But while there's no traffic where the boulders came down, there is a flurry of activity to clean up after this catastrophe.

On this scarred hillside where the slide took place, rocks and debris continue to fall to the ground below.

But instead of being unexpected rock falls, these are part of the clean up process.

"Even after the rockslide there is a lot of loose material that needs to be taken down and that is what the contractor is doing." says Department of Transportation spokesperson, Scott Ishikawa.

"We're scaling back everything that is loose, so that people can work under it a bit more safely" says Pierre Rousseau, the project manager for the rock stabilization company.

But not all areas have been deemed safe to work in, so crews are waiting for inspectors to come in.

After the inspectors allow work on all areas of the cliffside to continue, they could also give the green light for Kamehameha Highway to re-open.

But the big question for those on the north shore is when will that happen?

Now the sounds of these small rock slides around Waimea Bay, are signs things will soon return to normal. Although, there is still a lot of work left to be done, before the protective barriers are back in place. Crews will have to replace and repair this mangled mess that used to be a retaining fence. But this crushed steel shows the state's safety efforts worked as expected.

"The fence did its job, it held up. the fence took a beating but the reason for that is so we don't take a beating and don't have this whole avalanche on the road." says Ishikawa.

One lane of Kamehameha Highway will be contra-flowed beginning Monday morning, but only during morning and afternoon rush hours. The hours are from 4-8:30 am and from 3-7pm.