LIHU‘E — Heavy rainfall this week led to heavy traffic in Kapa‘a following the closure of the Kapa‘a Bypass Road, but the closure will be brief, officials said Thursday morning.
The state Department of Transportation announced Thursday that the bypass is expected to reopen Monday, if the weather allows for repair work to be completed.
The DOT closed the bypass Monday afternoon after heavy rains. On Tuesday morning, it announced the road would be closed indefinitely. Since then, traffic through Kapa‘a has been chaotic, especially during rush hour.
Prior to the bypass closure Monday afternoon, cars, trucks and buses dodged storm-related Kapa‘a traffic through the bypass.
Meanwhile, heavy rains quickly filled much of the pasture lands adjacent to the road, making the fields at the bottom of the Sleeping Giant mountain look like a giant pond. Water rushed across the bypass on several spots, creating dangerous conditions for drivers. At some portions of the bypass flooding waters rose up to 2 feet.
At around 1 p.m., Kaua‘i Police Department placed one patrol car on both access points of the bypass, blocking drivers from going through it.
Heavy rains and floods undermined a 36-inch culvert under the road, according to the DOT. A picture provided by the DOT shows a chunk of the road’s asphalt fell into the damaged culvert.
On Tuesday morning state highway personnel had already completed site inspections and the design of a repair project had been expedited and was in progress, the DOT stated.
As predicted by the DOT, traffic in Kapa‘a became heavier than normal in the last few days without the alternate route provided by the bypass.
“A state contractor has removed the damaged drainage system and is in the process of installing a 42-inch drainage culvert and repaving and repairing the affected roadway, weather-permitting,” states the DOT in Thursday’s news release.
• Léo Azambuja, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or lazambuja@ thegardenisland.com.