HONOLULU (KHON2) — Officials from the Board of Water Supply addressed ongoing water main repairs on Moanalua Freeway at a news conference Sunday afternoon.
A 42-inch water transmission pipe was damaged on Friday, June 18, when a contractor was attempting to install a sewer main beneath the freeway. BWS officials say its common for pipes and utilities to be underground in Hawaii.
“Our plans and specifications indicated we would miss the water main by quite a bit and we weren’t anticipating this,” explained Todd Barnes, Honolulu District Corps of Engineering Chief.
BWS said the pipe was installed in the 1940s before the freeway was built. The hole in the freeway is about 30-feet deep and the size of a dump truck.
Crews have been working 24/7 to repair the pipe and freeway, but there is no timeframe on when those repairs will be complete.
Until then, one lane at Fort Shafter will be shut down and two lanes will be blocked off from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. starting Monday.
Officials anticipate heavy traffic in the area and estimate 50,000 to 60,000 cars traveling through the area during peak rush hour.
“If you don’t have to be in the area, please don’t. If you have the opportunity to work from home, please do. If you have to work at the office, please plan this out. There’s going to be some delays from your normal commute, so plan it out accordingly,” said Ed Sniffen, Deputy Director of Highways for the Hawaii Department of Transportation.
On Sunday, the Board of Water supply explained that there are two major pipes feeding 50 million gallons of water per day to urban Honolulu, with one shut down completely, officials are closely monitoring the second pipe.
“There’s only so much we can flow through the one main instead of having two,” explained Kevin Ihu, Board of Water Supply program administrator. “And right now, the system is okay; a little bit lower than we’re used to for a normal day, but the biggest impact is during peak hours when there is a lot of flow that needs to get into town. We cannot flow that much into town but that’s why we have reservoirs, so our reservoirs will go a little bit lower at this time.”
The Board of Water Supply said they will let customers know immedietly if and when to conserve water.
The lane closures starting Monday will be have one west bound lane of Moanalua Freeway closed from 4 a.m. – 10 p.m.
The Fort Shafter / Ahua Street exit remains closed. Motorists should use an alternate route.