HONOLULU (KHON2) — The work has continued since Friday to repair the 42 inch water main that flows millions of gallons of water into Honolulu.
Workers excavated for days to reach the pipe that is located right next to the Moanalua Freeway.
It is a large project, with no end in sight yet. The repair work reduced the four lane Moanalua Freeway to three lanes, and only two lanes are open after 10 p.m.
The Hawaii Depart of Transportation Deputy Director of Highways Ed Sniffen said they are collaborating with the Honolulu Board of Water supply to determine lane closure times.
Sniffen said, “It’s a difficult situation. There is a 30 plus foot hole. Trying to try to fix a pipe where they don’t know where the damage is yet.”
After heavy weekend traffic caused by a two lane closure of the freeway, Sniffen said they decided to cut back the closure to one lane.
During regular times, more than 120,000 trips are taken daily on Moanalua Freeway. But during the pandemic, that traffic volume is about 20% less.
Still thousands of drivers rely on that freeway.
“If we only have two lanes, it’s be very difficult to pass that traffic,” Sniffen said, “Even if we had some overflow going on to the other routes. So giving that lane back was tremendous.”
The repairs have been on-going since Friday. Work by a contractor installing a sewer line beneath Moanalua Freeway accidentally struck the 42 inch main, prompting the BWS to shut off the valve.
Although working next to a busy freeway dose pose challenges. A BWS information specialist said more space was required for workers to secure the sides of the hole Monday afternoon, and they had to wait until 10 p.m. Monday once another lane closed to start the work.
Sniffen said this work requires balance.
They are considering closing a second lane a couple hours earlier.
“We’re considering allowing the Board of Water Supply to shut that second lane down earlier,” Sniffen said. “And we’re looking at that range between 8 and 10 to given them more allowance.”