Massive landslide on Kuhio Highway cuts off access to Kauai’s north shore

Local News

HANALEI, Hawaii (KHON2) – A night of heavy rain has caused rocks, branches, and mud to dump onto Kuhio Highway Thursday.

Drone video from Hanalei residents show the extent of the damage at Hanalei Hill.

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“There is four or five feet of the surface material that slid down,” said Ed Sniffen with the Hawaii Department of Transportation. “It also started buckling the road before it slid.”

The Hawaii Department of Transportation says, weather permitting, crews will start to remove debris Friday morning.

“Once we start looking at the roadway and the slope itself, we can start seeing what kind of timeframe we would have to reopen again. Best case scenario, the roadway is in great condition, slopes are stable, we just need to move debris, then we could potentially open everything up by Tuesday of next week,” Sniffen said.

Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami says crews are being assembled to help any Hanalei residents in need.

“This is an all hands on deck operation and we’ve been through this situation before in 2018,” said Mayor Kawakami. “We do have resources and community partners out there that have been deployed that are set up for food pantries.”

The massive landslide startled residents Thursday morning and has left business owners heartbroken.

“I was flying my drone over and I didn’t expect it to be a big landslide,” said Kaimi San Agustin, a Hanalei resident.

“People were excited to try to get back to something of normal and having this happen this morning was devastating,” said Liz Doyle, owner of the Hanalei Center.

As accessibility to Kauai’s north shore is severed, KIUC is urging Hanalei residents to be prepared for extended power outages.

First responders have been mobilized and are able to access Kauai’s north shore by boat and Air 1 operations for emergencies.

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