Frequently Asked Questions – Kuhio Highway April 2018 Emergency Flood Repair

HDOT is working to expedite flood repairs following the historic flood event on April 14, 2018. HDOT currently estimates the varied repairs at 32 different sites on Kuhio Highway (Route 560) on the north shore to be completed in October 2018 at an estimated cost of $80 million. As the emergency repairs on Kuhio Highway continue, so will the convoy access system for residents of Wainiha and Haena. We understand the people in the affected communities have questions and are addressing questions received from these residents below:

  1. Why do the Waikoko, Waipa and Waioli Bridges need to be upgraded as part of the emergency repairs?
    The Waikoko, Waipa and Waioli bridges do not have the capacity needed for current emergency repairs (i.e., removal of dirt material and placement of boulders needed for revetments at slope repair sites) or additional slope mitigation work planned for this area within the next two years. These bridges, especially the Waipa and Waikoko Bridges, show signs of significant deterioration and load bearing deficiencies that call for replacement. The upgraded bridges will be one lane bridges on the same alignment and retain much of the character of the existing bridges.

    Renderings showing the designs for the upgraded bridges are online at 
    https://hidot.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Kauai-Emergency-Repair-Boards3-FINAL.pdf (Note that the proposal has been revised since the preparation of these renderings to rehabilitate the Waioli Bridge and replace the Waipa and Waikoko Bridges).

    HDOT has agreed to rehabilitate the Waioli Bridge instead of replacing the concrete bridge originally built in 1912. This is possible because the Waioli Bridge is in much better condition than the Waipa and Waikoko Bridges. This work must be done during the day due to noise issues. Three to six weekend closures will be required in order to complete the final stages of the bridge work. Two weeks advance notice will be provided to the public before the weekend closures occur.

  2. Why can’t HDOT allow free access to Kuhio Highway between Waikoko and Wainiha when construction stops for the night?
    The highway is not ready to accommodate free access traffic. There are locations where guardrails, signage and pavement markings require installation after completion of roadway repairs. Convoy operations through the various construction zones, especially those involving stabilization of slopes above and below the highway, require escort for the safety of those travelling the road. There are many areas where the speed limit has been reduced and the road has been weight restricted for safety and to ensure no further damage to the roadway. Running the convoys ensures that motorists traverse the road safely and do not cause additional damage. HDOT is continuing to explore options to increase service to the community while keeping available resources in mind.

  3. Why can’t HDOT add more convoy times?
    HDOT is exploring options to serve the Wainiha and Haena communities and continues to refine the schedule for limited local access. Changes to the convoy schedule will be posted on the HDOT website at http://hidot.hawaii.gov under ‘Current Spotlights’ and on our social media accounts at facebook.com/HawaiiDepartmentofTransportation and on Twitter under the handle @DOTHawaii.

  4. I don’t see work on the road when I pass by. Why can’t HDOT put more crews out there?
    To expedite the repairs HDOT had several contractors clearing landslide debris and will be adding more crews once the bridge work and additional upper slope stabilization work begins. Crews are currently working 10 hours a day, six days a week. Much of the slope stabilization work such as rock scaling must be halted prior to allowing the convoy through.

  5. Why isn’t HDOT working at night in non-populated areas?
    Crews are currently working 10 hours a day, six days a week. This was reduced from the 12 hours a day, seven days a week schedule the crews made up of seven teams of contractors worked to clear the emergency single lane access immediately after the flood event. HDOT will be adding crews once the bridge upgrade and additional upper slope stabilization work begins, and is anticipating night work on the revetments and micropile foundations for the Waipa and Waikoko Bridges. Rehabilitation of Waioli bridge will take place during the day due to the expected noise impacts this type of work would have on an area without much human-caused environmental noise. The majority of the work between Waikoko and Wainiha involves working on steep slopes; the possibility of working at night was discussed but then decided against for safety reasons.

  6. How are construction crews minimizing debris due to the handling and cutting of the Geo-Foam blocks at the Waikoko and Wainiha sites, and do insects such as ants create an environmental or structural problem?
    The Geofoam is being cut by hotwire and does not produce debris that is associated with cutting Styrofoam. Any debris which is created from handling of the Geofoam is cleaned up regularly with a shop vac. HDOT inspectors are on site to ensure that necessary cleanup work is done.  Ants and insects do not create an environmental or structural issue with the wall.

  7. Who do we call for emergency situations at night when the gates are locked?
    The National Guard will remain to man the checkpoints through August 16, and can be contacted to open the gates in emergency situations. Other arrangements will be made and communicated to the community before the departure of the National Guard.

  8. When can we expect the road to open without the convoys?
    In order to safely open the road without convoys, the areas of roadway failure which require reconstruction of the roadway embankment must be completed, guardrails must be restored, as well as other safety improvements such as signing and striping. Stabilization of the upper slopes may be ongoing at the time of opening of the road.  HDOT is targeting the end of October to re-open the highway.

The April 14-15 flood event caused significant damage to Kuhio Highway and the north shore communities of Haena, Wainiha, and Hanalei. HDOT will continue to work to expedite the emergency repairs to Kuhio Highway and get the road reopened by October 2018. The Kuhio Highway emergency flood repairs will not only restore access to the communities affected by the flood but will result in a safer and more dependable road than the roadway that existed prior to the record setting flood.

Go back to the Kuhio Highway Emergency Repairs page.