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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 30, 2006

Washed-out Kaua'i road being repaired

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Kaua'i Bureau

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State highway crews took advantage of a few hours of clear weather yesterday to perform needed maintenance and paving on the section of Kuhio Highway that was severely undermined in the March 14 Kaloko Reservoir dam breach and flood.

The crews reopened two lanes by 6:30 p.m., said Scott Ishikawa, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

State Transportation Director Rod Haraga has said it may take until the end of the year before permanent repairs are complete.

The flood drove an estimated 400 million gallons of water, along with hundreds of trunks of uprooted trees, against the highway embankment, overwhelming its culvert.

As the water gushed over the top of the road, it eroded the downstream embankment as well. Both shoulders and some of the driving lanes were washed away.

Transportation officials initially closed the road to all traffic, isolating the north shore of the island. After an engineering inspection, they opened one lane, allowing cars to travel alternately in contra-flow traffic.

Ishikawa said the open part of the road is just wide enough that with repaving, two standard-sized cars can travel in opposite directions.

However, when large trucks come by, opposing traffic will be halted to let the truck use the middle of the road.

He said trucks are too wide to allow another vehicle to pass and that the road's edges may not be secure enough for the additional weight of a loaded truck.

Reach Jan TenBruggencate at jant@honoluluadvertiser.com.