HONOLULU (KHON2) — A rockslide near Waimea Valley closed down a portion of Kamehameha Highway for most of Sunday, Feb. 5. Hawaii Department of Transportation officials said crews are inspecting the area for other loose rocks before reopening the highway.
Heads up! Large rocks rolling down fast. Department of Transportation Director, Ed Sniffen, said four large rocks fell from a slope; and one of them crossed the highway. They estimate each rock weighs about three-quarters of a ton.
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Sniffen said, “I think this warrants continuous inspections of these areas to ensure that we understand what the slopes are doing especially after large storm events like we just had.”
Contractors scaled down the slope and checked for any loose rocks. Several more rocks tumbled down as crews inspected.
No one was injured during the rockslide on Sunday morning; but just weeks ago, it could have been a different story as thousands flocked to Waimea for The Eddie.
Sniffen said, “We understand how lucky we were that nobody got killed. We are making sure that we’re scaling the slope to bring down all the loose material. We are setting up temporary barriers in this area.”
The closure of Kamehameha Highway disturbed the plans of some people, but Kahuku resident Walter Woods said it is better for crews to check for hazards than to be sorry.
“A little inconvenience but you got to live with it you know what I mean it’s part of life,” Woods said. “They should keep it close though so that they can check the rock falls or tumbles.”
A drone inspected the area where transportation officials said there is a gap and believe that is where the rockslide started.
Sniffen said, “Today, the drone footage was specifically in this area so that they could take care of this problem. They will come back again tomorrow, Feb. 6, to start drone surveying the rest of the slope as well.”
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The large rocks fell a few feet from a retaining fence along the highway, the DOT said they will extend that fence towards the bay.
Crews will continue to scale the slope on Monday and drivers should expect traffic delays.