Residents raise alarm as ocean eats away at North Shore highway

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
Published: Mar. 6, 2019 at 2:37 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Jarrett Kaina says he remembers a time when he could play in the sand on the makai side of Kamehameha Highway in Hauula.

Now, “for sale” signs are up as many residents consider moving because of the crumbling coastline.

"It's slowly tunneling underneath,” Kaina said. “You can look at all the holes over there and you see how far down it goes. Or the bridge down the road, they're not going to be able to put guardrails anymore because there's nowhere to put guardrails."

Days ago, a large hole in the highway was sighted between Kualoa and Kaaawa. It’s now patched, but residents know there will be more.

“We’re hoping that the DOT and whoever else can come up with a solution for the future,” said Hauula resident Ronnie Huddy. “Patching is something that is helping, but we are hoping that they’re coming up with a plan for the long term, not just for today or for tomorrow, but for the future because the road is not going to last.”

This comes more than two weeks after landslides shut down the Pali Highway. The acting governor signed a disaster declaration to free up funding for repairs.

Now, the area’s councilwoman has introduced a resolution requesting the same type of emergency proclamation – to get immediate state resources for Kamehameha Highway.

“A few years back, when we had erosion of sand in Waikiki area and there was all hands on deck bringing in sand blankets and doing all these kinds of things to restore and maintain the sandy areas of Waikiki beach and this to me is so much more important,” said Honolulu Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi.

Tsuneyoshi says if her resolution passes this Friday, she will use it to lobby Hawaii’s Congressional leaders for federal help.

“We’re afraid for our lives," said Hauula Community Association President Dotty Kelly-Paddock. “I know it’s serious and it’s serious money. But it has to be done to protect the residents here. This is our life and our livelihood to go along this road and somebody needs to seriously look at this.”

Right now, the resolution stretches from Kahaluu to Sunset Beach, but an amendment could extend it to Laniakea Beach.

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