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Closure of Wahiawa bridge creates traffic nightmare

By Rosemarie Bernardo

LAST UPDATED: 8:13 p.m. HST, Sep 17, 2012

The Department of Transportation received dozens of complaints from infuriated motorists stuck in the traffic mess from the closure of the Karsten Thot Bridge in Wahiawa this morning.

Today was the first day of a six-week closure as contractors Abhe & Svoboda, Inc. began repairs to the 80-year-old bridge.

Whitmore Village resident DeeDee Iman said it took her three hours to reach her workplace at Kaimuki High School from her home.

Her children were also late for school.

“The school bus usually gets there at 6:50 a.m. At 8 a.m., it wasn’t there,” said Iman.. 

Contractors will work days, nights and weekends to expedite repairs, according to state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter. “We realize it’s a big inconvenience,” she said adding the closure is necessary for safety reasons. 

Major structural repairs are being done to the bridge’s rivets and steel beams.

About 23,000 drivers use the bridge daily. 

Sluyter said the state hired additional special duty officers to direct traffic at intersections in response to complaints. 

Traffic is being rerouted to Wilikina Drive and Kamananui Road while the bridge is closed.

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