HDOT assesses flood damaged areas on Kauai; outlines steps needed to reopen Kuhio Highway

Posted on Apr 17, 2018 in Highways News, Main, News

LIHUE – The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), along with state, county and federal agencies, are diligently working on the clearing and repair of Kuhio Highway between Lumahai and Wainiha on Kauai’s North Shore following the historic rainfall.

HDOT crews from Kauai, Oahu and Maui have accessed the areas via helicopter, boat and by hiking in and are assisting with the repairs and recovery. A damage assessment has confirmed multiple landslides blocking Kuhio Highway, and that two areas on the road have suffered structural damage. One area is in Waikoko and the other in Wainiha. HDOT is designing plans to repair and support the roadways to allow for emergency access through effected areas as soon as it is safe. After emergency access is provided, crews will work to restore the entire width of Kuhio Highway.

While crews are repairing the two structurally damaged areas, clearing of debris on the Lumahai end will continue. We are working with contractors in the Wainiha area to start clearing out that end as well. Six larger landslides and six smaller landslides have been discovered and thousands of pounds of mud, trees and debris must be cleared from the roadway to allow passage by vehicle.

Because of the terrain and load restricted bridges along the route, smaller trucks must be utilized for recovery operations. HDOT is exploring options to improve the infrastructure to allow larger vehicles into the area to speed recovery efforts.

Before the highway can be reopened the following will have to occur:

  1. Clear and remove the mud, trees and debris from the roadway;
  2. Inspect and stabilize the mauka slopes to ensure they are clear of falling debris and sloughing material; and
  3. Stabilize the two areas of roadway that suffered structural damage in Wainiha and Waikoko.


A definitive timeframe has not been established, however it will take time to provide emergency and full access to the highway, especially if more wet weather passes over the island. HDOT is providing this information to allow residents, visitors and the visitor industry to assist in their own planning and decision making.

People needing assistance as a result of the flooding and storm should contact the Kauai Emergency Management Agency at 808-241-1800.

For updates on road conditions and closures please call 808-241-1725. Please do not call Kauai Police 911 unless you have an emergency.

HDOT thanks the Office of Governor David Ige, County of Kauai, Kauai Emergency Management Agency, Kauai Police Department, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Highways Administration, United States Army, Hawaii National Guard, emergency responders, the utility companies, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), American Red Cross, the visitor industry and the many other public and private agencies helping with the natural disaster response.