Repairs continue to fix 24-inch water main break in Kailua

BWS officials said one Kaneohe-bound lane will be open on Monday from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. only, to help with the morning commute.
Published: Nov. 19, 2023 at 7:16 AM HST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2023 at 5:07 AM HST
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KAILUA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Repairs to fix a 24-inch water main break in Kailua is entering into its third day and crews are working against the clock to get the roads back open again.

Currently, all Kaneohe-bound lanes on Mokapu Road remain closed indefinitely between Kapaa Quarry and Oneawa Street. Kailua-bound lanes are open.

Classes at Kalaheo High School are expected to resume on Wednesday after being cancelled on Tuesday.

In an email to families, Principal James Rippard said the campus did not have water which meant the restrooms or water fountains couldn’t be used, and the cafeteria was unable to prepare lunch.

BWS officials said crews were also working to repair the high school’s sewer line that had been damaged when a piece of the sidewalk fell into the trench.

The pipe broke out around 7 a.m. on Sunday, flooding parts of Mokapu Boulevard which fronts Kalaheo High School. Mokapu Boulevard was initially closed in both directions between Kapaa Quarry Road and Oneawa Street but now work is being done on the Kaneohe-bound lanes.

BWS said it will open one Kaneohe-bound lane Tuesday morning from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. only to help the morning commute. It will be closed immediately at 8 a.m.

Drivers are advised to expect delays and take alternate routes.

Viewer video shows cars submerged in water up to the windows.

Meanwhile, some residents are questioning why the Board of Water Supply wasn’t proactive in replacing the pipe before it broke.

“Everyone has old piping. They don’t test it?” said Kailua resident Brian Keegin whose car was caught in the flood. “It should have been anticipated. Checked for.”

The Board of Water Supply said it takes the matter seriously.

“It’s an important road absolutely,” said Kathleen Elliott-Pahinu, of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply. “We have aging infrastructure apipes breaks for a multitude of different reasons.”

BWS said it had a goal of replacing 21 miles of pipe a year but that effort has been slowed in recent years as resources had to be shifted to respond to the Red Hill water crisis.

Elliot-Pahinu said the department had to re-program their budget due to the crisis.

However, she also said that water main breaks are not on the rise. Over the last seven years, they have consistently average around 340 to 350 breaks a year.

BWS says there is no official timeline for when this water main will be fixed.

This story may be updated.