Kalanianaole Hwy. reopened after fallen tree causes a traffic nightmare

Local News

Thousands spent hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic because a huge banyan tree fell, blocking all three eastbound lanes right across from Kalani High School.

Thankfully no on was injured, but it snarled traffic all the way to the King Street cut off.     

“It’s been bad, its been seriously bad,” said Jimmy Walker. He and some of his family visiting from the mainland were heading to the Polynesian Cultural Center when they got stuck in the traffic jam.
“It’s a vacation, my wife’s birthday and we’re stuck in traffic.”

Honolulu resident Ralph Iwamoto also endured the back-log. “We’ve been in traffic for an hour. Bumper-to-bumper.”

They, and thousands of others, spent hours stuck in traffic thanks to the large banyan tree that fell blocking Kalanianaole Highway just after 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning.

The homeowner that lives next to the fallen tree said he was about 10 feet away from the tree when it fell. He was raking his backyard. The fallen tree is butted-up against his backyard wall. He said he heard a pop-pop-pop noise, kind of like a bb-gun. That’s when he looked up and realized it was the tree and it was going down.

Alika Thompson said the banyan tree was there when he moved to Iki Place more than 70 years ago and he’s never been concerned about the tree before.

But he and other neighbors were concerned with how the trees were trimmed.

“They just kept trimming it to avoid the lines,” Thompson said as he pointed to the power lines over the sidewalk. 

“Look the way they’ve cut (the trees)…cause look at all the weight. It keeps growing. The weight keeps, you know, pulling it this way,” Thompson said as he tilted his arms sideways to demonstrate how much the trees lean to one side, hanging over the road. 

And then there are the bees.

“Of course the bee nest got to it… made it crack finally,” Thompson said. 

A bunch of bees were visibly buzzing around a hole near the crack in the tree.

Thompson and several other residents on Iki Street said they were worried other trees could fall too.

“They should trim it all. Its not doing any good to anyone.”

KHON2 has reached out to the Department of Transportation to find out why the tree fell, but have not received a response yet.

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