Ige assess North Shore flood, landslide damage

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Gov. David Ige, third from right with hood on, joins Kaua‘i Mayor Derek Kawakami in a blessing officiated by the Rev. Wayne Vidinha of Ke Akua Mana Church, right, Thursday in Princeville at the top of the landslide that covered Kuhio Highway and cut off Hanalei and areas west from the rest of the island.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A project supervisor updates Gov. David Ige on landslide-clearing work Thursday in Princeville during a blessing for the safety and protection of workers on the project.

PRINCEVILLE — As work continues to repair Kuhio Highway after the landslide last week above the Hanalei Bridge, officials gathered for a blessing of the site early Thursday morning.

On March 10, a landslide buried a portion of Kuhio Highway, cutting off the only roadway accessing North Shore communities of Hanalei, Wainiha and Ha‘ena.

The Rev. Wayne Vidinha of Ke Akua Mana Church presided over the event, blessing the site and those working on the project, including those with the state Department of Transporation, construction contractors and officials.

Gov. David Ige, in his first trip off O‘ahu in over a year due to the pandemic, stood with Mayor Derek Kawakami as light rain fell during the blessing.

“We have a lot of damage from the rain events,” Ige said afterward. “We’re seeing more severe rain events happening that obviously create landslide issues and other issues in and around especially-remote areas that create challenges for the community.”

Part of Ige’s official trip included stops at the Kaua‘i Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Operations Center in Lihu‘e, and various sites from Princeville to Ha‘ena.

“I wanted to come out and see the damaged area and work with the Department of Transportation and make sure that we can safely provide access to the community,” Ige said. “We need to make sure we can make quick and safe action to provide access.”

Pictures, Ige said, are no comparison to being on the ground.

“I didn’t realize how steep that slope is,” Ige said. “(I can) certainly recognize the danger that is involved. Clearly, we understand (with) the severe rain events that landslides are always a possibility.”

Single-lane, emergency use of Kuhio Highway has been restored for critical services, including refuse, utility-service repair, fire suppression, postal services and delivery of essential supplies like medicine and food.

DOT officials estimated a scheduled or limited public access to start on Saturday, according to a county press release.

“We’re finalizing some details now about how (to open the highway to the public), and hopefully by the end of the week we can start letting the public know in a very-controlled fashion,” said Larry Dill, DOT Kaua‘i District engineer.

County Managing Director Michael Dahilig said the county is using the 2018 flood event as a baseline, and this time around there isn’t as much of a learning curve.

“It seems like it’s becoming more of an occurrence for these types of events, but I’m confident and comfortable that … you guys can overcome these types of situations,” Kaua‘i County Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro said. “It’s comforting to know that you’re getting the work done.”


Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.

  1. Joshua Beadle March 19, 2021 8:03 am Reply

    Why are our Government Officials promoting a specific religion at what is a publicly funded construction site? Perhaps there are workers of different faiths than the one Ige is actively promoting. We need to get back to the Separation of Church and State. Now.
    Perhaps Ige’s and Kawakami‘a time would be better spent figuring out how their $1.5M bathroom at Blackpot is still in-op, after 2+ years.

    1. David Presley March 19, 2021 3:25 pm Reply

      I agree, at the very least they could let us know which Jesus they were referencing. Baptist Jesus, Mormon Jesus, Catholic Jesus, Greek Orthodox Jesus, or Harry Potter Jesus.

      1. I prefer March 20, 2021 9:03 pm Reply

        Baby Jèsus

    2. onebrahda March 19, 2021 5:26 pm Reply

      And that is why the United States is the way it is, everyone wants God out of here. And when bad things happen they ask, where is God? People like you kicking Him out of every aspect of our lives. God Bless the United States of America. BTW – some really don’t know what “Separation of church and state” really meant!

      1. Tom Campbell March 22, 2021 6:59 am Reply

        When Thomas Jefferson penned those words his intent was to keep government out of the church, not the church out of government. Those “ten tortured words” have been grasped by those who would reduce mankind to mere mechanisms rather than the incredible creation of an omnipotent Creator.

  2. Critical thinker March 19, 2021 8:33 am Reply

    Who’s bright idea was it to just cut down a few more coconut trees at the top of the ridge? Aren’t the engineers aware of the role that trees roots play in this? Especially palms. Also, whose brilliant idea was it to park all of that heavy road machinery on the edge of ridge a few months back, right on top of a culvert spill out? Either we have some truly non critical thinkers running our island or we have people who are intentionally trying to sabotage the north shore in favor of their wealthy friends over at the Zuckerberg estate. Which is it Kawacommie?

    1. Kauaidoug March 19, 2021 10:58 am Reply

      Probably the same yo yo’s who took the sand from the parking at wailua bridge! And IF the Gov had been taken to Opeakaa Falls or Wailua he wouldn’t see a damn thing due to the trees and shrubs growing at lookouts. When is something going to be done about the Albezia growing mauka and then wind up makai as driftwood littering the beach?

  3. Kauaidoug March 19, 2021 10:58 am Reply

    Probably the same yo yo’s who took the sand from the parking at wailua bridge! And IF the Gov had been taken to Opeakaa Falls or Wailua he wouldn’t see a damn thing due to the trees and shrubs growing at lookouts. When is something going to be done about the Albezia growing mauka and then wind up makai as driftwood littering the beach?

  4. randy kansas March 19, 2021 11:14 am Reply

    we have several rental properties on the south and west side….raising our rental prices because of higher demand and increased property taxes;

    1. Kind sir March 20, 2021 9:07 pm Reply

      Ahh makes sense why you enjoy the lack of tourism. Congrats on your investments. Clearly the ones who lost work, jobs, businesses due to covid shutdown don’t matter much to you. In fact raising your prices further just ensures that no local residents will be able to rent them. Cool bro. Hope you make a ton of money.

  5. Old Fart Haole March 19, 2021 11:37 am Reply

    Did Ige quarantine for ten days locked in a room at the Tip Top? Or at a “Bubble Hotel” for 3-4 days and then take a $250 test to get out before showing up at these photo ops?

  6. RGLadder37 March 19, 2021 6:05 pm Reply

    That’s good. I thought the Hanalei side of the island was using FEMA. The workers working on this mud slide and fixing it are state workers being funded by CIP. I saw those workers who have regular jobs. They are the ones to tackle this case. I’m not sure of any executive order coming out of this though. David Ige checking to see this disaster only makes it look like FEMA required some signatures in the executive order. Kaua’i has been hit hard many times already. FEMA to help out has become a normal thing. Does the state require any more enhanced project to be done for FEMA to continue their giving of money to the Kaua’i area? Sort of like keep up with public spending so it will be more economically worth while for FEMA to continue with the funding for Kaua’i. I would hope so.

  7. alien March 20, 2021 6:10 am Reply

    Two covidiots acting all official, get out of the way the men have work to do. I wonder if Ige had to pretest to come to Kauai? I already know the answer to that #bowdownpeasants.

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