Highway reopens after landslides

WAINIHA — Both lanes of Kuhio Highway in Wainiha were opened just after 3 p.m. Sunday. Landslides caused by heavy rains completely blocked the highway Friday morning.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation said crews had been working since the incident to clear mud and rock debris off the road between Wainiha and Lumahai.

HDOT reported that efforts were made more difficult because it continued to rain in the area, causing additional material to come off the slope.

An emergency access route on the ocean side of the highway was cleared to allow emergency services access to the communities on the other side of the landslide Friday night.

That route remained clear to alternating traffic on a limited basis and was used by residents and tourists to reach Kee Beach and homes in the area.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. thanked everyone “who have worked tirelessly over the last two days on this very difficult task.

“Throughout the challenging stages of this response, our highest priority has been to ensure the safety of the crews on scene and the general public,” he said in a written statement.

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