All lanes of H-1 in Kahala reopened after water main break

All lanes of H-1 in Kahala reopened after water main break repairs complete
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - All eastbound lanes of the freeway in Kahala were reopened on Wednesday morning, several hours earlier than expected.

Lanes were reopened by 4:20 a.m. even though the Board of Water Supply anticipated reopening the road by noon.

The main break initially shut down all lanes of the freeway Saturday, and created traffic gridlock in the area for days.

Ernest Lau, manager and chief engineer for BWS, said crews were working around the clock to fix the broken pipe and managed to finish at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. Crews then began filling the massive hole they created while excavating 18 to 20 feet under the asphalt to reach the main.

BWS earlier announced it would reopen lanes by Thursday, but Lau said that was a conservative estimate.

On Monday around 2:30 p.m., eastbound traffic on the freeway was already backed up to McCully. But a series of traffic mitigation measures did help to keep traffic flowing.

Officials said the work took longer than expected because of an unforeseen problem: Workers excavating the area found an abandoned water main above the one that broke.

Workers had to pull out that old water line in order to access the one that needs to be repaired, which was installed in 1969.

The water main break happened about 4:45 a.m. Saturday, closing the freeway completely into the evening. The freeway closure Saturday spurred what drivers referred to as "carmageddon," with some reporting trips that typically take minutes lasting hours.

On Sunday, the situation improved slightly, with one eastbound lane reopened.

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