A traffic nightmare for the Leeward Coast threatened to stretch into a third day Monday as Board of Water Supply crews suspended repairs on a broken water main that closed a section of Farrington Highway.
The situation grew worse Sunday when repair crews inadvertently damaged a sewer line under the water main. That put repairs to the water main on hold until the sewer line could be fixed, according to the Board of Water Supply.
The sewage was contained to the bottom of the trench, below the BWS main, and removed, the agency said. Before putting the repaired main into service, crews will flush out and disinfect the main, the agency said in an emailed statement.
The Water Board has also arranged for a contractor to start repaving one lane Sunday evening.
State Rep. Andria Tupola (R, Kalaeloa-Ko Olina-Maili) said crews hoped to finish repairs Sunday night.
“We’re crossing our fingers that it’s done tonight (Sunday),” said Tupola, who was at the scene of the break and posting updates on her Facebook page. “We’re trying to push it through to tonight.”
Meanwhile, water was cut off to much of the coast from Honokai Hale to Waianae, and the Water Board urged customers to use water sparingly — that is, for cooking, drinking and personal hygiene only. The break is on a transmission line servicing the Leeward Coast with roughly 60 percent of its water supply, and it will not be in service while under repair, BWS said in a news release.
But the main headache was traffic, which was bumper to bumper for miles Saturday and Sunday leading into Nanakuli from town.
The 24-inch main broke at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at 89-318 Farrington Highway near Nanakuli Beach Park, prompting the closure of the main thoroughfare between Piliokahi and Nanakuli avenues.
Special-duty officers assisted in redirecting traffic to a nearby bypass bridge where one lane was open in each direction.
Police opened bypass roads Sunday from Helelua Street to Lualualei Naval Road to Hakimo Road.
As of 5 p.m. Sunday, TheBus reported that there would be no bus service from Nanakuli to the Kapolei transit center, but Handi-Vans would provide shuttle service.
Tupola urged residents to use the access roads for local traffic only, advising drivers to stay on Farrington Highway if they are going into town.
She also advised Leeward Coast residents to allot at least three hours if they are heading into town or to stay home if they are able to, adding that the situation has prompted many residents to remain frustrated over the congestion.
“If you have to go somewhere, allot the appropriate time and be patient,” Tupola said. “It’s still really distressing. Obviously, nobody was able to prepare for this. Everyone’s mad.”
Cedric Gates, a Waianae resident, said he has avoided driving on Farrington Highway this weekend. He added that some of his relatives had been trying to get to Waianae from town around 10 a.m. Sunday. As of 6:15 p.m., he said, they were still stuck in traffic.
“I’m blown away by that,” said Gates, a member of the Waianae Neighborhood Board, emphasizing the need for another way to access the Waianae Coast other than Farrington Highway. “People are really frustrated and irritated.”