Flood damaged Kauai highway opens to residents Friday
A transportation lifeline for isolated residents on Kauai’s north shore look forward to a bit of relief on Friday.
HONOLULU (KITV) -
A transportation lifeline for isolated residents on Kauai’s north shore look forward to a bit of relief on Friday. The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) and the County of Kauai announced on Thursday that they will reopen and restore the 2-mile stretch of Kuhio Highway damaged in April floods, beginning Friday, May 4, 2018.
“This is a significant development, and I’d like to thank our entire team of responders who have worked diligently towards reopening a safe pass way for our isolated residents. However, there is still much work left to be done in the Wainiha-Haena area. And while we continue to conduct these emergency operations, this area will be limited to residents only until further notice. We appreciate everyone’s understanding, residents and visitors alike,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho.
The roads closed after heavy rains on April 14, 2018 flooded and damaged the highway. HDOT says there are many conditions regarding opening this single lane route on Kuhio Highway (Route 560) from Waikoko to Wainiha, including:
It is for local traffic only, and residents need to prove it before they can get a placard to display on their dashboard. Placards will be issued to Wainiha and Haena residents only.
To receive a placard, residents must bring their vehicle and be prepared to prove residency. Placards may be picked up from Planning Director Mike Dahilig at the County office at the Hanalei Colony Resort between 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. beginning on Thursday, May 3, and between 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 4.
There is a 10,000-pound weight restriction, which means only passenger vehicles such as sedans, SUVs and pickup trucks will be allowed on the highway. North Shore residents seeking access to the single lane route are advised to check their individual vehicle weight, which can be found on the vehicle’s registration. All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) and Utility Task Vehicles (UTV) will not be permitted to travel on the single lane route.
If you need to access the area for work (like insurance adjusters, utility company personnel, private contractors, and others) must coordinate their travel needs through the Kauai Emergency Management Agency at 808-241-1800. Those people with approved access will need to have their name on a list provided to the personnel at the checkpoints in order to be allowed through.
There’s a timeline for usage of the road:
- 6 a.m. Waikoko to Wainiha
- 6:30 a.m. Wainiha to Waikoko, to include shuttle
- 12 p.m. Waikoko to Wainiha, to include shuttle
- 12:20 p.m. Wainiha to Waikoko,
- 12:40 p.m. Waikoko to Wainiha
- 1 p.m. Wainiha to Waikoko to include shuttle
- 6 p.m. Wainiha to Waikoko
- 6:30 p.m. Waikoko to Wainiha, to include shuttle
The road will only open if the weather permits. Should the local access be suspended due to weather, HDOT and the County of Kauai will provide updated information through the media and social media accounts.
“Safety is our first priority as we continue recovery efforts in the areas that were isolated last month by heavy flooding and numerous landslides. We are actively deploying disaster response resources to help residents and businesses in those areas. I am pleased that work has progressed to allow residents of Wainiha and Haena to safely use the highway; however, we are asking visitors to enjoy other areas on Kauai to avoid impacting the ongoing recovery efforts. We also ask the same of the general public,” said Gov. David Ige.
The route opened for one-lane emergency access on April 28, 2018. Friday’s opening marks the first time residents can use the highway.
HDOT says $8 million in quick release funding from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for the emergency work helps greatly. The current estimate for total emergency costs for the response and recovery work on Kuhio Highway is $40 million.
HDOT says it will seek FHWA Emergency Relief funding, which is provided on a cost-share basis for repair or reconstruction of highways damaged as a result of natural disasters.
HDOT says future phases of the work will likely require reassessment of and modification to management of public access through the construction site. The full reopening of Kuhio Highway from Waikoko to Wainiha for two-way traffic is expected within three to four months.
A detailed schedule for the restoration of unrestricted access to Wainiha and Haena will be available following the upgrade of the Waioli, Waipa, and Waikoko scheduled to start in June.