HONOLULU - Repairs to the water main break on Kalanianaole Highway near the H-1 could take until Thursday to repair.

"This water main break is a very difficult one to repair; the pipeline is 16-18 feet deep," said Ernie Lau, manager and chief engineer at the Board of Water Supply. "As my crews were digging on Saturday, they encountered a 24-inch pipeline that turned out to be an old, abandoned pipeline that was located almost directly on top of the line that was leaking."

Lau says crews have been rotating shifts and working around the clock since Saturday to fix the break. HDOT expects to have two eastbound lanes of the highway open by rush hour on Monday. Westbound lanes of the highway are not affected. The main alternate route for drivers is to take the Pali Highway to Kalanianaole Highway, through Waimanalo to Hawaii Kai. To ease traffic congestion, HDOT is putting a halt on road construction in East Honolulu and Waimanalo until the line is repaired.

"We're also looking at all of the permit work that we might have; other contractors or other agencies working on our highways so we can clear those out as well," said Ed Sniffen, deputy director at HDOT. "So as of today, those will all be out of the way to ensure that anyone coming through can reasonably go through Waimanalo as an alternative."

The Board of Water Supply responded to 4-5 broken mains this past weekend. The cast iron line that broke underneath the eastbound lanes of the highway on Saturday dates back to 1969. Lau says the typical lifespan for a waterline is anywhere between 70 and 100 years. 

"Things like corrosion, settlement, corrosive soils can cause pipe breaks," he said. "It's really hard to predict, but we're doing the best we can to get this repair done quickly, so mahalo for your patience."

Drivers are urged to avoid the area if at all possible. To check traffic conditions, visit https://local.nixle.com/city/hi/honolulu/.