A little more than a week after all lanes were reopened on Kamehameha Highway in Kaaawa following erosion-related damage, officials are once again contraflowing lanes.
Honolulu’s Department of Transportation Services and the state Department of Transportation (HDOT) are contraflowing due to high surf erosion affecting the shoulder lane.
According to HDOT, the affected portion of the lane is located about 100 feet south of the previous work earlier this month.
The north bound/makai lane is closed until further notice, and the south bound/mauka lane will be contraflowed.
An officer or flagger will be onsite directing traffic.
But some residents, including Charles Quinones believes the contraflowed traffic making the road safe.
“We see people come through here 60 miles per hour sometimes, ” said Kaawa resident Charles Quinones. “There’s an accident at least every few months on this road.”
He thinks the contraflow is what the neighborhood needs.
“We try to pull out here. At least once a month my wife or son is nearly sideswiped at least once a month,” Quinones added.
As for the road is closure, that’s a different story.
On Sunday, KHON2 took a look at the damage and saw, from the beach, giant chunks of the highway in pieces.
Quinones says he noticed the erosion awhile back, while surfing, and tried warning people.
“So I went down to fire station, a week before, warned them, ‘hey, the road is gonna cave in at any time,'” Quinones explained. “They said, ‘oh, okay, we’ll contact somebody.’ I didn’t see anyone there. They didn’t do anything until the road actually caved in.”
Another Kaaawa resident Pera Jeftik says the road closure is no surprise.
“The road is built really bad,” she said. “The water goes underneath the asphalt and people don’t realize for like a whole year, for three four feet underneath, so dangerous that for the bigger trucks, maybe it’ll fly in the ocean or whatever.”
HDOT told KHON2 the north bound, or makai lane, is closed until further notice.
Residents hope the state comes up with a good plan to fix the only road going in and out of Kaaawa.
“It’s the price you pay to live right here,” said Quinones. “I don’t know what they’re gonna do. I know it’s gonna cost a lot of money. They have to do something.”
Officials are advising drivers to exercise caution and be prepared for delays when transiting through this area.
Earlier in February, crews initially put boulders near the ocean to prevent further erosion, then over the weekend of Feb. 13-14, removed the damaged asphalt and guardrail, filled the area with controlled low-strength material (CLSM), installed a new guardrail and repaved the roadway.
Last year, HDOT fixed another portion of the highway, just a half-mile down the road. It’s an issue that’s been going on for years.
HDOT continues to work on long-term solutions.