Kamehameha Highway reopens in Laie following utility pole repairs

Kamehameha Highway closed in Laie due to downed pole

LAIE, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A downed utility pole closed Kamehameha Highway in both directions near the Polynesian Cultural Center for much of Sunday.

Prior to reopening shortly after 5 p.m., both lanes were closed for a two mile stretch of the highway.

The pole came down sometime during the early morning hours Sunday.

“Well about 2:30 in the morning we heard a kind of a big boom and a crackle,” said Laie resident Joshua Greig. “And we thought that it must be lightning, or a car hit it, but we didn’t hear the screeching. And then the power turned off and then we walked outside.”

That’s when they found the pole fronting his home.

“This pole was drooping down and the power lines were laying on the ground,” he said. “You could kinda smell the burned electrical.”

Hawaiian Electric said 775 area customers lost power, but electricity was completely restored by 7:45 a.m.

While the work was ongoing, the highway was completely closed to motorists.

There were no detours. Drivers were being forced to turn around.

“I was hopeful, okay, let’s wait 20 minutes” said Ivy Kanahele of Kaneohe who was visiting family in Laie. “I saw cars turning around. Long story short, I ahd to end up parking and walking.”

“I’m just walking Ivy back to Kaneohe and then I’ll turn around and go back to Laie,” said Genie Mataalii, who was helping Kanahele carry things back to her car.

Many others were expecting a usual Sunday drive when they hit the unexpected roadblock.

“I was planning on going up to Kahuku,” said Kaneohe resident Michelle Marks. “It’s my brother’s birthday and we were going to ride dirt bikes. And this is a total surprise. I didn’t get any updates about it.”

Some were visitors who were hoping to take a drive around the island.

“It put a crimp in it, but it’s great scenery, so that’s what we came here for,” said Brent Burns of Los Angeles. “So we’re going this loop or going back the other way, it’s no problem.”

“I’m planning on going around the H-3 Freeway. Which will be another hour,” said Marks, shrugging her shoulders.

This story will be updated.

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