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PHOTOS, VIDEO: Hawai‘i DOT Assesses Kaua‘i Flood Damage

April 18, 2018, 8:24 AM HST (Updated April 18, 2018, 8:38 AM)
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April 16, 2018: Hawaii DOT crews are continuing clean up and inspections after the #kauaiflooding. This picture shows flood debris from Wailua River against the southbound supports of Kuhio Highway. @DOTHawaii

The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation, along with state, county and federal agencies, are working on clearing and repairing Kuhio Highway between Lumahai and Wainiha on Kaua‘i’s North Shore following the historic rainfall. @DOTHawaii

HDOT crews from Kaua‘i, O‘ahu and Maui have accessed the areas via helicopter, boat and by hiking in and are assisting with the repairs and recovery.

A damage assessment has confirmed multiple landslides blocking Kuhio Highway; two areas on the road have suffered structural damage—Waikoko and Wainiha.

HDOT is designing plans to repair and support the roadways to allow for emergency access through effected areas as soon as it is safe. After emergency access is provided, crews will work to restore the entire width of Kuhio Highway.

Hawai‘i DOT crews and contractors continue removing landslide debris and trees from Kuhio Highway in Waikoko on April 16, 2018. Hawaiian Telcom is working to restore utility poles and lines. Kuhio Highway remains closed between Waikoko and Wainiha. Hanalei Bridge is also still closed. @DOTHawaii

While crews are repairing the two structurally damaged areas, clearing of debris on the Lumahai end will continue. HDOT is working with contractors in the Wainiha area to start clearing out that end as well. Six larger landslides and six smaller landslides have been discovered and thousands of pounds of mud, trees and debris must be cleared from the roadway to allow passage by vehicle.

Hawai‘i DOT crews and contractors continue removing landslide debris and trees from Kuhio Highway in Waikoko. Hawaiian Telcom is working to restore utility poles and lines. Kuhio Highway remains closed between Waikoko and Wainiha. Hanalei Bridge is also still closed. @DOTHawaii

Because of the terrain and load restricted bridges along the route, smaller trucks must be utilized for recovery operations. HDOT is exploring options to improve the infrastructure to allow larger vehicles into the area to speed recovery efforts.

Before the highway can be reopened the following will have to occur:

  • Clear and remove the mud, trees and debris from the roadway;
  • Inspect and stabilize the mauka slopes to ensure they are clear of falling debris and sloughing material;
  • Stabilize the two areas of roadway that suffered structural damage in Wainiha and Waikoko.

A definitive timeframe has not been established; however, it will take time to provide emergency and full access to the highway, especially if more wet weather passes over the island. HDOT is providing this information to allow residents, visitors and the visitor industry to assist in their own planning and decision making.

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People needing assistance as a result of the flooding and storm should contact the Kaua‘i Emergency Management Agency at (808) 241-1800.

For updates on road conditions and closures, call (808) 241-1725. Do not call Kaua‘i police 911 unless you have an emergency.

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