Rain Leaves Bridge Prone to Flooding

Scott Ishikawa
Scott Ishikawa
John Juarez
John Juarez

WAIKANE (KHNL) --  All the rain recent storms have dumped leaves one Windward Oahu bridge vulnerable to flooding.

On Monday, crews worked for more than three hours to prevent the Waikane Stream Bridge from washing out. The work was done by 6:30 p.m.

"Every year, every year there's a problem here. Every time there's a little bit of rain, this road floods," said commuter Patti Olson, a Hauula resident.

With more rain expected, crews had to race against Mother Nature to prevent more flooding.

"Kamehameha Highway is the only way around the island so we want to make sure that this crossing remains intact," said Department of Transportation Spokesperson Scott Ishikawa.

The bridge work trickled into the afternoon rush hour, leaving commuters with a traffic headache.

"I've been backed up since Kaneohe," said Olson.  "I've been sitting here since 4:15 p.m."

"Bad. Should be better, they're out here a little too late yeah?" asks John Juarez, a Hauula resident stuck in the traffic jam.

While nearby homes weren't quite flooded out, the Department of Transportation said clearing the debris was necessary.

"We decided to take care of it now, apologize to the drivers for the inconvenience but we're going to have a bigger inconvenience if the bridge washes out," said Ishikawa.

"This kind of thing has been going on for years and it's time they need to fix it," said Olson.

It's a fix the Department of Transportation says isn't easy. Part of the problem is a lot of the trees along Waikane Stream are on private property. When landowners don't maintain the trees, branches and logs fall in the water, and get trapped under the bridge, so the state ends up having to clean the debris.