Kuhio Highway opening extended

The opening of Kuhio Highway on the North Shore remains uncertain.

In an update on emergency repairs to the road damaged in the April flooding, the Hawaii Department of Transportation said Wednesday there have been “unavoidable extensions in the project schedule.”

Slope stabilization and roadway repairs needed to safely open Kuhio Highway past Anae Road (the Waikoko checkpoint) to two-way traffic will be substantially complete in April, according to HDOT spokeswoman Shelly Kunishige.

“The limited-access convoy for Wainiha and Haena residents will continue to operate until such time as HDOT determines it is safe to allow access without it,” she wrote in an email.

It’s become an expensive repair job.

Total costs for the Kuhio Highway emergency repairs from the historic April flood is estimated at $77.2 million. About 90 percent of repair costs will be covered by the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief program, which assists states with repair and/or reconstruction costs from extraordinary damage due to natural disasters.

Meanwhile, HDOT, in coordination with federal and county agencies continues the repair efforts on Kuhio Highway, Route 560. It reports that considerable progress has been accomplished since the April 14-15 severe-weather event, which produced about 50 inches of rain, possibly breaking the nationwide record for most rainfall in a single 24-hour period in recorded history.

Much of the highway was damaged, houses were destroyed and cars were washed away. For many, the recovery is far from over.

Some have called for the North Shore to remain off limits to visitors and suggested the checkpoints remain in place.

“Despite the state and county’s best efforts to repair the widespread damage as quickly as possible, on-going weather and environmental challenges, permit-issuance procedures, and production rates which have been significantly impacted by the need to accommodate traffic through the construction areas and other factors have led to unavoidable extensions in the project schedule,” Kunishige continued.

HDOT anticipates that slope stabilization and roadway repairs between Waikoko and Wainiha will be substantially complete in April.

Then, there will continue to be construction-related traffic impacts to complete the renovations to the Waioli, Waipa and Waikoko bridges, which are anticipated to be substantially complete in May, weather permitting.

HDOT could not give an estimated date of when the road might reopen to the public.

There was also extensive damage to Haena State Park and Napali Coast State Wilderness Park, both of which remain closed to visitors.

7 Comments
  1. some guy January 10, 2019 3:48 am Reply

    “Some have called for the North Shore to remain off limits to visitors and suggested the checkpoints remain in place.” – are these the same people who set up gofund me every time they skip a bill….or bail?


  2. PAT BRUBECK January 10, 2019 6:33 am Reply

    HAVING A PROJECT MANAGEMENT BACKGROUND, ONE ALWAYS HAS AN ESTIMATED DATE FOR COMPLETION – WHICH WILL BE UPDATED IF THE SITUATION CHANGES – BUT THERE IS ALWAYS A DATE. PLEASE SHARE THE CURRENT ESTIMATED DATE FOR COMPLETION. I SUSPECT IT IS MORE LIKELY THAT HDOT DOESN’T WANT TO SHARE THE CURRENT ESTIMATED DATE, RATHER THAN A DATE DOESN’T EXIST.


  3. I saw a Vampire once January 10, 2019 6:42 am Reply

    These areas are in Kokee. How can you access these areas? For example, the bridge or road that you see from, you can see it from across of Waimea Canyon lookout. Inside the canyon. About few miles in.


  4. kimo January 10, 2019 8:35 am Reply

    With the Feds paying for the repairs, and the local residents opposed to the tourist onslaught they have seen spoil the north shore previously, one can sense there is no “urgency” to get the road open. Hopefully, there will be some planning to handle the traffic, parking problems before the road is completed.


    1. Da Shadow January 10, 2019 4:25 pm Reply

      the sad part is that many of us who reside in Ha’ena & Wainiha are being severely impacted by this closure. The convoy schedule is one thing, but so many of us rely on vacation renters and tourists for WORK!
      we are struggling without income for so long!
      I don’t even know how local businesses and tour operators are staying afloat. Also, the State is not getting any of transient tax revenue from the prohibited vacation rentals.
      It is very sad and i may have to leave my beloved home if i cannot find work to replace what has been lost.


  5. Lumahai Mike January 10, 2019 12:54 pm Reply

    I suppose the illegal Jet Ski and small boat people are making a killing. 🤑🤑🤑


  6. Haole Hank January 11, 2019 8:56 am Reply

    Give me a break “Kimo”. The onslaught of tourists spoiling the north shore?
    Your head must be in the sand. If you know anyone who lives there you can witness the dumped trash and abandoned cars all over the pristine coastal area. Added with the resistance of locals to get rid of their cesspools they are responsible for the spoiling of the area. It’s not about the aina.


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