‘Frustrating’ highway closure particularly tough on those seeking medical care

Unless you’re walking, anyone trying to cross the bridge in Kahana Valley will have to take the longer route the rest of this week.
Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 11:03 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 18, 2022 at 11:07 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kahuku resident Puanani Nawahine prefers going to Kaneohe for dialysis.

But on Monday, with the Kahana Bridge closed to vehicles following a water main break, she had to go the other way and that took her an extra hour and a half to get home.

“It’s frustrating, but it’s a fact of life especially for us who like living out here on the North Shore,” she said.

The 30-inch main break happened Saturday, forcing the full closure of the highway because of structural concerns to the roadway. Crews hope to have a contraflow lane opened by Monday.

Pedestrians are being allowed to cross the bridge with a Board of Water Supply escort.

Officials said the bridge is safe, but the underpinnings of the road need repair. In the meantime, they’re asking residents from Waimanalo to the North Shore to conserve water.

Nawahine said the road closure is especially tough for those who need to travel to doctor’s appointments.

“A lot of us would love to do dialysis close to home instead of having to travel the roads,” she said. “If there was a way that Kahuku Medical Center can have a dialysis center over there, it would help a lot.”

Atalina Pasi, of Lahui Foundation, said the incident underscores the need for a better backup plan.

“Whether it’s having a dialysis center at the local medical center or if it’s making sure that our infrastructure can withstand emergency situations like this and we don’t have to drive all the way around,” she said.

The water main is expected to be repaired by Sunday.

“The big concern we have right now is that main serves 60% of the community between Waimanalo and Kahana so we’re asking everybody to really look at conserving,” said Kathleen Elliott-Pahinui, of the Board of Water Supply. “Right now, just restrict your water use to cooking and personal hygiene only.”

She added, “Just be as stingy as you possibly can until we get the water main back in service.”

Water wagons are on Trout Farm Road for residents. BWS is also delivering water to four families on the Kahuku side. While the agency works to replenish its reservoirs, it’s urging the community to pitch in to help.

“Right now the reservoir has been dropping even though we are working to refill as quickly as we can because we can’t keep up with demand,” said Elliott-Pahinui.

Officials said pedestrian access across the bridge is available throughout the repair.

There will also be vans available for city bus users.

For updates on repairs, head to the Board of Water Supply’s website.

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