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Report: Most of Hawaiʻi's Roads Are Vulnerable to Climate Hazards

Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation

The majority of Hawaiʻi's roads and bridges are threatened by natural hazards and climate change, according to a state Department of Transportation report.

The report says nearly 60% of the state's roads and over 75% of its bridges are in danger of impacts from landslides, coastal erosion, sea-level rise, storm surges, tsunamis and wildfires.

The Hawaii Highways Climate Adaptation Action Plan identifies vulnerable areas and recommends solutions.

Officials used historical data and climate projections to assess more than 900 miles of state-owned roads, including nearly 400 bridges and six tunnels.

It is a “first step to act comprehensively across the agency in recognizing and considering more fully these changing climatic conditions,” Department of Transportation Deputy Director for Highways Ed Sniffen said a statement.

Sniffen said the state “needs to be more resilient, adaptive, and engaged in climate change risks to our highway network."

“These changing conditions have important implications to Hawaiʻi — inundated shorelines, coastal erosion, floods from rainfall, a higher water table, more saturated soils and greater risks of landslides, and increased wildfires,” Sniffen said.

Officials said rockfalls and landslides are a major concern, threatening 17% of roads, 32% of bridges, 15% of culverts, and all six of the state's tunnels.

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