Paint spill snarls traffic

KAPAA — A portion of the Mayor Bryan J. Baptiste Memorial Bridge in Wailua received an unexpected paint job Wednesday morning.

About 9:30 a.m., a truck was heading north on Kuhio Highway when a railing on the vehicle apparently broke, causing about 75 of the 200 gallons of paint on board to spill onto the highway, according to a county release.

The truck was reportedly owned by Puni Nani Pools and Spa in Lihue. Phone calls to the company requesting comment were not returned by press time.

Following the incident, the outside northbound lane of Kuhio Highway at the bridge, known commonly as the Wailua Bridge, was closed for nearly five hours. No injuries were reported and the lane reopened about 2 p.m., according to county officials.

Police, firefighters and representatives from the Department of Transportation and the Department of Health responded to the scene.

According to state officials, the paint was a non-hazardous, water-based paint and the spill was contained to the roadway as well as the railing and wall of the bridge. The spill did not affect the Wailua River, according to county officials.

The driver of the vehicle was cited for Spilled Loads on Highways, according to police. For a first violation, the citation carries a fine of between $250 and $500.

DOT worked with private contractors to remove the paint from the roadway in order to reopen the lane, according to a release.

County spokeswoman Sarah Blane said there was not an estimate of the damage available Wednesday.

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