Downed utility pole snarls East Oahu traffic

By Roger Mari - bio | email

EAST OAHU (KHNL) - A stretch of rural highway along East Oahu is often snarled by bad weather or traffic accidents. Now, some neighbors in the area say they're tired of it.

A plea from residents goes out to be more careful when driving through the area.

Traffic was moving slowly again while crews were on their way to fix a leaning utility pole. It was hit by a driver in a van, leaving just one lane open for drivers, and no power for area residents.

Hawaiian Electric crews were notified at about 7:30 Saturday morning of the accident which happened just past Kualoa Ranch headed south.

Traffic was being contra-flowed using the northbound lane as debris lay scattered on the road. It affected 154 homes.

"It looks like a hot shower is out, refrigerator; you can't open that, no lights, no power," said East Oahu Resident Peter Kaneshige.

An assessment of the damage had to be done by Hawaiian Electric, and Hawaiian Telcom crews to determine if the pole could be fixed or needed to be replaced. Because of the location it took a while keeping traffic slow and residents in the dark.

"We don't know when they are going to fix it," said Kaneshige.

It serves as another wakeup call that this area of Oahu can have unpredictable traffic conditions.

Bad weather can result in flooding prompting road closures and accidents, which can tie up traffic for hours.

"I guess it happens a lot here," said Kaneshige.

Saturday's accident could have been worse. The driver of the van was not killed and traffic eventually began to move normally. And for residents, the slowdown is part of life, in this rural section of Oahu.

"This kind of opened the eyes. It's just an ongoing thing in Hawaii," said Kaneshige.

Janeen loose of Hawaiian Electric says crews began working on the pole at about 1:30  Saturday afternoon. Most people have had their power restored and both lanes should be open by 8:00 Saturday night.