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Officials Postpone K?hi? Highway Reopening In Wake Of Community Concerns

waikoko-bridge.jpg
Hawai'i Department of Transportation

State transportation officials plan to delay the full reopening of Kaua?i's K?hi? Highway until the week of May 20 following concerns raised by residents in the area.

The highway damaged in last year's flooding was scheduled to reopen on Wednesday. But officials said more roadway work will be done near Waikoko Bridge before outside traffic will be allowed through.

The decision follows a site visit Monday by Kaua?i Mayor Derek Kawakami, Deputy Transportation Director Ed Sniffen and Federal Highway Administration representatives.

Kawakami told Hawai?i Public Radio that he had called on the state to postpone the reopening of the highway, citing community concerns that the area was not ready to accommodate additional traffic. The road had been open to limited local traffic.

"Based on these concerns, K?hi? Highway will not be reopened until the work at the bridge progresses sufficiently to ensure the safety of the traveling public and our workers," the transportation department said in a news release.

Local access along K?hi? Highway will continue in convoys between Wainiha and Waikoko based on a schedule published in March.

Work on Waipa Bridge will continue at night through Thursday, with parking on either side of the bridge available for those wanting to cross the bridge during night work hours. Night work at both Waipa and Waikoko bridges will resume Monday, May 6, and will continue through Thursday, May 16, except on Friday, May 10 and May 12 to accommodate the Kaua?i Community College graduation and Mother's Day.

The state will continue a shuttle service offered with the Hanalei Colony Resort between the area Park and Ride and Wainiha.

Residents can sign up for email updates on the K?hi? Highway repairs.

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