State crews respond to partial collapse of highway in Hauula

The Kahuku-bound lane of the highway was closed near Pokiwai Place but has since reopened.
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 12:02 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2023 at 11:17 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - State crews are responding to a partial collapse of Kamehameha Highway in Hauula.

The Kahuku-bound lane of the highway was closed near Pokiwai Place but has since reopened.

The state has been grappling for years with structural issues of Kamehameha Highway along Windward Oahu and the North Shore. Worsening erosion and rising seas are battering the oceanfront thoroughfare ― the only way in or out.

In 2020, the state Department of Transportation spent $2 million on emergency repairs to stabilize and support the ocean side of Kamehameha Highway after a section of road fell into the water.

Hau’ula resident Derrick Pressley has been monitoring this stretch for years and was there when a section of highway collapsed in 2020.

HNN talked to him in November, nearly three years later, in which Pressley said he was worried it could happen again after noticing cracks.

The DOT in November told Hawaii News Now there was no immediate threat to the highway, and the cracks were not on the roadway itself.

Two months after that interview, Derrick told us the cracks continued to worsen, but the DOT said the highway was in good shape.

During a visit to the area in January, DOT Director Ed Sniffen listened to residents’ concerns.

He said long-term plans for the highway were in the works but needed more research, but in the meantime, the DOT said it would continue maintenance on the road and make repairs as needed.

Time was not on the DOT’s side — this collapse happened right before maintenance was scheduled.

After the most recent collapse, crews checked the integrity of the roads.

“We had our staff go throughout the Hauula corridor sounding the pavement to ensure there are no other voids we can find.”


But Pressely feels like his warnings were not taken seriously.

“The Department of Transportation said the area was safe,” said Pressely. “What are you going to do now? Erosion is not going to stop. Get the highway fixed. Stopped putting it off.”

Sniffen said temporary repairs have been made and will resume on Wednesday.

Both lanes of the road remain open.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.