Crews dislodge huge boulders above North Shore highway as part of slope stabilization efforts

Giant boulders crashed down on the highway near Waimea Bay on Monday, but this time on purpose.
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 10:23 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2023 at 6:21 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Giant boulders crashed down on Kamehameha Highway near Waimea Bay on Monday. But this time, it was on purpose.

Three large rocks were dislodged by slope scalers who have been checking for loose materials since Sunday, when a rockfall blamed on recent heavy rains closed the road for hours.

The operation left dents in the road and a deep hole in the sidewalk.

Ed Sniffen, director of Hawaii’s Department of Transportation, said the dislodged rocks were part of a weakened section of slope.

“They brought in different materials and different tools to make sure they could pull that thing out,” Sniffen said. “We wouldn’t have felt comfortable leaving that up there knowing that there was a seam behind it.”

Seeing the power of those falling boulders makes North Shore residents Sherry and Sandy Taylor a little nervous. “Just seems like maybe we need a little bit bigger barrier than that one,” said Sherry Taylor.

That concrete barrier that was smashed to bits was just put up on Sunday.

Sniffen said despite the dramatic show Monday, the slope is safer.

The Transportation Department plans to replace the blocks Tuesday evening.

They’ll stay there for the next 12 weeks until crews extend the existing rockfall fence by 70 feet.

The scaling work continues Tuesday. Crews will shut down the highway for periods of up to 30 minutes.

The highway will be fully closed from 9 p.m. to midnight.