Waves eat away part of Kamehameha Hwy., forming potentially hazardous hole

Updated: Sep. 4, 2017 at 10:04 PM HST
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HAUULA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Not far from the Kim Taylor Reece Gallery in Hauula is a newly formed hole several feet deep in the makai lane of Kamehameha Highway.

From below, you can see where waves have gnawed into underside of the asphalt.

"On high tide the water comes up from the ocean here and splashes and come through the road and out to the yellow line," area resident Derrick Pressley said.

Pressley lives across the street. He says until recently, all of the erosion was happening on the shoulder. Now he's worried about how fast the lane is starting to disappear.

"I've emailed DOT three times and I've heard nothing back.  No response. I'm really concerned about the liability. The hole is getting larger. Motorist can't see it. It's dangerous. It's going to hurt somebody," said Pressley.

Traffic engineering expert Panos Prevedouros agrees.

"It's a major risk. The pavement is undermined so it can collapse in a small or large degree, to which I don't know, at any time," said Prevedouros.

Prevedouros says the road needs immediate repair. In the meantime drivers shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the undermined asphalt.

"Everything in that area seems to be completely eroded. Therefore even the crash guard that looks to be okay. Although it has some rust on the backside. It may be structurally compromised," said Prevedouros.

We asked the Department of Transportation what it's doing to fix the problems in the area.  A spokesperson sent us this statement:

HDOT is aware of the erosion issues on Kamehameha Highway in Hauula. Crews monitor the area regularly. We are researching options to protect the highway, while also being sensitive to environmental concerns. We will continue working with DLNR regarding how it is addressing sea level rise statewide. All long term solutions are expensive and must consider the potential relocation of the roadway, which has multiple impacts.

It is unclear if or when state crews will do anything to address the hole.

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