Hawaii Crews Repairing Stretch Of Road That Fell Into Ocean

Jan 7, 2020

Hawaii road crews are working to repair a section of highway that collapsed into the ocean as some residents question the state's actions to fight road deterioration.

Repair crews began working Sunday on Kamehameha Highway in Hauula after coastal erosion caused the collapse of the shoulder and part of a lane.

An area north of Pokiwai Bridge will remain closed until further notice, the Hawaii Department of Transportation said.

Ed Sniffen, the state deputy director for highways, estimated the repairs would cost about $120,000 and take about a week to complete.

The collapsed area of road is 12 feet (3.6 meters) long and 6 feet (1.8 meters) above the beach. Inspectors found the shoulder had been undercut for approximately 20 feet (6.1 meters) in both directions, the department said.

Hauula Gift Shop owner Fawwaz Jubran saw road cracks widening for weeks. The constant erosion and pounding surf makes him worry that the road repairs will only be temporary.

"Every time there is a serious erosion because of big waves currents to the shoreline, it's usually a band aid fix up," Jubran said. “Officials should really look at building a solid concrete wall to prevent any major waves to damage the side of the road as frequent as it does.”

The road fix is expected to last five to 10 years and the state is researching methods that would last longer, Sniffen said.

The Hauula road collapse is the latest road damage from shoreline erosion affecting 10% of the state’s 2,500 miles (4,023 kilometers) of roads, the transportation department said.

Sniffen most of roads suffering from erosion are on Oahu, although there are problem areas on Maui and Kauai.

Levy James used to fish at the beach directly across from his house on Kamehameha Highway. But for the past five years, he has not gone fishing because of the erosion. he said.

“Everything’s disintegrating,” James said. “Everything’s disappearing.”