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HDOT NEWS RELEASE: Kuhio Highway emergency repairs status update

Posted on Apr 30, 2019 in Latest Department News

LIHUE – The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is pleased to announce that emergency repairs to the section of Kuhio Highway (Route 560) between Waikoko and Wainiha damaged in the historic April 2018 flood are nearing completion. Since the large-scale emergency repair project began, HDOT and its contractors completed twenty-two major tasks including the stabilization of the slope at Wainiha Bay and the rebuilding of sections where the embankment below the road was washed away in the disaster. A full list of those tasks and status as of April 30 are available at

On April 29 Mayor Derek Kawakami, HDOT Deputy Director for Highways Ed Sniffen, and representatives from the Federal Highway Administration conducted a site visit to the work areas on Kuhio Highway. This site visit was prompted by community concerns brought to HDOT by Senate President Ronald Kouchi, Representative Nadine Nakamura, and Mayor Kawakami and identified safety concerns over opening the roadway near Waikoko Bridge. Based on these concerns, Kuhio Highway will not be reopened until the work at the bridge progresses sufficiently to ensure the safety of the traveling public and our workers. Weather permitting, HDOT now anticipates the safety concerns will be resolved and the full opening Kuhio Highway will occur the week of May 20.

“So many people have worked so hard to not only repair Kuhio Highway, but make it more resilient against future events,” said Hawaii Department of Transportation Deputy Director for Highways Ed Sniffen. “We appreciate everyone’s patience as we continue to work to ensure the road is safe.”

Convoy access to Kuhio Highway past Waikoko will continue on the schedule published on March 27, 2019 (available here) until further notice. HDOT is considering adjustments to the schedule to accommodate the community and to reduce potential conflicts between drivers and the workers at Waikoko Bridge.

The schedules for work on the bridges are:

Waipa Bridge Night Work

  • The current bridge work on Waipa Bridge will continue nightly through Thursday, May 2
  • Work to take place nightly from 7 p.m. (after the last car passes through the convoy) to 5:50 a.m.
  • Parking areas on either side of Waipa Bridge and pedestrian access will be available for those wanting to cross the bridge during night work hours
  • Parking areas will be secured at all times
  • The convoys will run on the regular schedule between Wainiha and Waikoko
  • The bridge will close to all vehicular traffic after 7 p.m., so any vehicles utilizing the convoy after 7 p.m. will not be able to travel over the Waipa Bridge
  • HDOT is coordinating with Hanalei Colony Resort to provide a shuttle for residents between the West Waipa Bridge Park and Ride and Wainiha.

Night work at both Waipa and Waikoko Bridges will resume Monday, May 6 and continue through Thursday, May 16. There will be no night work on Friday, May 10 (Kauai Community College graduation) and Sunday, May 12 (Mother’s Day).

To provide mobility during the night time closures, the State will continue shuttle service between the Park and Ride and Wainiha with the Hanalei Colony Resort.

HDOT anticipates the first of two full weekend bridge closures to take place from 9 p.m. Friday, May 17 through 6 a.m. Monday, May 20. Additional releases on the weekend bridge closures will be sent prior to the scheduled closure.

All work is weather permitting. First responders have been notified and have planned staging and procedures in the event of an emergency requiring them to access the work zones. Arrangements have also been made to ensure the Akita school bus will be able to cross Waipa Bridge at the scheduled time.

The public is still able to sign up for email updates on the Kuhio Highway emergency repairs by clicking here.

Photos of the bridges and completed work on Kuhio Highway are available at the links below: