Emergency repair work damaged, brings surprise to quiet Kaaawa neighborhood

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The Hawaii Department of Transportation is continuing emergency repairs along a portion of Kamehameha Highway that stretches from Kualoa Ranch to Hauula.

The work involves the closure of the northbound lane, which has created heavy traffic on certain days of the week.

The work began in Hauula in early January when a portion of the highway shoulder fell into the ocean.

Some residents were surprised to see netted rocks as the ‘emergency fix’ by state workers.

The bags are called Kwoya bags, the DOT said the bags allow the natural flow of the ocean through the bags while still protecting the highway. But residents were concerned if the bags would last and now the nets are being damaged.

“Now we have tears in several of the bags,” said Hauula resident Derrick Pressley. “I’ve counted about 10 within a block and a half stretch.”

Some residents said they’ve seen fishermen put fishing pole spikes into the bags.

“We understand there are gathering rights and we want the use of this highway and the ocean for all, but our concern is the millions of dollars spent in tax revenue and this road is for everyone and now we’re going to have this wall, the barrier, damaged and we just had it put in,” Pressley said.

Some residents hope more fishing pole holders can be placed along the shoulder of the highway. Others think easier beach access would also prevent further damage.

Down the road in Kaaawa, some residents in the quiet backroad neighborhoods we’re surprised to see trucks and hundreds of more vehicles coming through their privately owned roads over the weekend.

“I don’t know how aware or unaware people were but I guess even if you know it’s going to happen it’s always surprising to see a lot of cars and trucks and buses coming through a neighborhood that just usually has residents and their guests coming through,” said Socrates Bratakos, president of the Kaaawa Beach Owners Association.

Some residents said they’ve seen cars speeding and not stopping at stop signs.

“We understand that detours are needed through our neighborhood as the roadwork goes on or else the traffic would be unbearable trying to contraflow one lane at a time,” Bratakos said.

“But please be careful of the little kids, and the pets and the seniors, in particular, that walk around all the time on these roads,” he said.

“They’re kind of skinny, country roads, but they’re not used to a lot of traffic so drive slowly, carefully, keep your eyes open watch out for other folks.

According to the DOT website, southbound traffic will be detoured to Kekio Road via Hiiaka Road and Puakenikeni Road from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Friday, Feb. 21.

Emergency repairs will continue in Hauula, at Crouching Lion, Kaaawa with work set to begin at Kualoa this week.  

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