Sewer work underway after large sinkhole on Kailua Road

A large sinkhole about the size of a car opened on Kailua Road early Friday morning.

No one was hurt, but fixing the problem is continuing to cause headaches for drivers in the area.

The sinkhole was discovered shortly after midnight between Hamakua Drive and Oneawa Street, at the entrance to Kailua town.

City crews filled it shortly after it was reported, but then, they found a broken sewer line.

The city says water from that line likely caused the sinkhole.

City crews continued to fix the problem Friday evening, causing a traffic mess for anyone driving into Kailua.

The problem has raised concerns for businesses in the area. If it had happened later in the day, it could have been a disaster.

Now, residents worry if there could be more.

“Does it worry you about driving around the area now?” KHON2 asked business owner Rita Sierra.

“It really does, yeah,” she replied. “It could have been a fatal accident, you never know. I’ve heard about it on the mainland happening all the time.”

The city believes a broken sewer line caused the road to buckle.

“Running water or water penetration under the road that caused some settlement caused some voids to open up,” said city facility maintenance director Ross Sasamura.

So even though the road was just patched up, work crews have to dig up Kailua Road to repair that sewer line. It caused traffic jams for drivers heading into Kailua all throughout the day.

“It’s going to be a hassle going to work coming home because I live right there, so now I know there’s going to be a lot of traffic,” said Kailua resident Alihilani Kahanaoi.

It’s not just the traffic that’s causing a problem for the businesses. There’s also the strong lingering smell.

“I didn’t know at first. I was like what is going on?” said store manager Mary McNeill. “I just was burning incense because I was like something is not smelling too fresh.”

The city says it’s really hard to detect sinkholes, but with a sewer line fixed, the area should be okay.

A city spokesman says work crews are monitoring the area for other depressions on the roads or signs of further damage.

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