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Second lane opened on Kalanianaole Highway


    Traffic at the intersection of Kalanianaole Highway and Ainakoa Avenue.


    A map of the traffic mitigation at Kalanianaole Highway.


    Repairs to a broken 24-inch transmission line at the eastern end of the H-1 freeway in Kahala will likely take until Thursday.


    Traffic on the H-1 freeway heading eastbound was backed up Saturday afternoon.

Update 3:55 p.m.

Transportation officials instituted a traffic mitigation plan for Kalanianaole Highway eastbound at the end of the H-1 freeway.

The plan includes:

>> Two non-traditional lanes on Kalanianaole Highway eastbound at 2:15 p.m. were opened using cones.

>> There will be no left turn onto Ainakoa Avenue from Kalanianaole Highway eastbound.

>> There will be no right turn onto Waikui Street from Kalanianaole Highway eastbound. Residents of the area can turn right on Waieli Street

>> No pedestrians are allowed to cross at the intersection of Kalanianaole Highway and Ainakoa Avenue in either direction.

Update 2:28 p.m.

A second eastbound lane has been opened on Kalanianaole Highway near the end of the H-1 freeway, Honolulu Police said.

Update 8:47 a.m.

Officials plan to open an additional eastbound lane on Kalanianaole Highway where it meets the end of H-1 freeway by 3 p.m. today to help relieve traffic congestion as Honolulu Board of Water Supply crews continue to repair a broken water main.

Only one eastbound lane is open as crews work to replace a section of a 24-inch transmission water main that ruptured early Saturday. Ernest Lau, manager and chief engineer of the Board of Water Supply, said this morning, “By this afternoon, before rush hour, we hope to have a second lane open for the community.”

Crews have been working non-stop since the water main broke Saturday. “This water main break is a difficult one to repair,” Lau said at the site this morning. “The pipe goes as deep as 16- to 18-feet deep.”

The pipe, which is made of cast iron, was installed in 1969. “Unfortunately it broke probably over the worst place it could break,” he added.

Repairs are expected to be completed by Thursday. “But we’re working very hard to try to accomplish that even earlier.” Lau said.

Tim Sakahara, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said the department is halting road projects on Kalanianaole Highway in Waimanalo to allow motorists to have an alternate route to Hawaii Kai until water main repairs are completed.

Previous coverage

Honolulu motorists whose commute includes the east end of H-1 and the adjoining Kalanianaole Highway should plan detours when heading home this week, as workers are expected to be repairing a broken water main until Thursday.

Kathleen Pahinui, spokeswoman for the city Board of Water Supply, said work on the broken water main at the eastern end of the H-1 freeway will last longer than expected due to interference from an abandoned line.

“Unfortunately, this repair is going to take longer than we anticipated,” she said. “There was an abandoned main on the top of the main that broke. Because of that we had to cut through the abandoned line, and we still have some excavation we have to do, unfortunately. It’s just a big one. … We’re estimating repairs to be done by Thursday.”

The broken 24-inch transmission line, on Kalanianaole Highway between Kilauea Avenue and Waikui Street, caused gridlock Saturday. At some points during the day, eastbound lanes of the H-1 were backed up for miles.

Pahinui said a second lane should be open to motorists before this morning. Repair work originally had two of the three lanes closed, with only one eastbound lane open to traffic.

“We are adding in a second lane, so there will be at least two lanes going eastbound,” she said.

Pahinui said Board of Water Supply officials met with the state Department of Transportation for a plan of action. If necessary, Pahinui said, the Board of Water Supply will ask the Honolulu Police Department to help monitor the traffic during the evening commute.

Pahinui said the team is still excavating to expose the 20-feet-deep main.

“We have to dig down to expose the pipe,” she said. “What we normally do is we cut it out and weld a new section.”

Pahinui asked commuters to adjust their schedules to help clear up the road over the next week.

“If you don’t have to go through the area in the afternoon, adjust your schedule accordingly over the next few days until we are able to get it finished,” she said.

During Saturday’s traffic jam a normally 20-minute midday trip from downtown to Kaimuki took one motorist about 75 minutes.

Hawaii Kai resident Celise Nakakura said her family stayed home most of the day Sunday after experiencing the traffic Saturday night.

“With all that stress and aggravation that we saw yesterday, we intentionally stayed home in Hawaii Kai the rest of the day,” she said.

Comments (69)

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      • Remember in the news how the Japanese fixed a massive sinkhole in mere days? Simple for them as they work efficiently, have professional engineering management, actually want to do high quality work.

        Meantime in the Nei, our Jurassic BWS didn’t even know about the abandoned line was there until they started digging. Then Ooopsss. We forgot about this one.

        Just another day in the little 15th world of Hawaii Nei.

        • Good job DOT – holding up the work in Waimanalo.
          BOW get to work inspecting the current infrastructure
          prevention is the way to go
          Waiting to fix breakages is a poor policy the BOW is following.
          HPD – great job communicating and getting the word out.

          Caldwell get your priorities right – fixing the decaying infrastructure is more important and creates more jobs than the Rail.

        • @1local. Again I ask, how do you maintain or inspect a buried pipeline without digging? You want the BWS to dig up the roads just to inspect all pipes underneath because it’s time? Nonsense.

        • You can’t be serious. This repair job is just a few days. Rail work can block traffic for months on end.

          Be careful what you wish for. After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. ..

    • There is no detour. But again., Governor Cayetano was right: Honolulu should never have wasted money on an outdated rail system until it fixed the serious infrastructure problems out here. The rail was sold in a lie by Mufi to put union labor back to work in a recession. The thing of it is, more local jobs would have been created in a massive infrastructure rebuild than in the rail project. Massive mistake. Now you poor people do not have the rail or the infrastructure. You do have the massive debt for decades to come, though.

    • Too little , too late.
      Wouldn’t it be great if HPD & DOT had managers that didn’t wait for the public to be hugely inconvenienced and massive complaints before taking common sense action to mitigate the traffic.
      With HPD in particular, there’s absolutely no sense of urgency when their actions impact the general public adversely. It really seems at times as if they just don’t care how many thousands of people get inconvenienced or for how long.
      This “traffic mitigation” plan could have, and should have been implemented immediately after the break occurred. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to figure out what’s going to happen when you block off the only road serving the east side on an island with a million people. They waited till Monday to take any meaningful action to help the public. This should not be acceptable, and would not be acceptable in private sector employment. Heads would roll for sure, but in Hawaii public employees are NEVER held responsible for their actions, or inaction.
      Voters have only themselves to blame for re-electing the same lifelong, corrupt politicians repeatedly. Only they can fix the problem but they’ve long since sold out to the public worker unions. The story will end badly for the taxpayers, sooner or later.

  • Why don’t they contra flow eastbound in afternoon? And/or have police do traffic control to help traffic flow. BWS and HPD should help the situation.

  • This is ridiculous. Apparently no urgency to get this repaired.
    Dump the BWS and hire a contractor to fix this thing under force account (time & materials) on a round the clock basis.
    I guarantee it would be fixed in 24 hours and probably cheaper in the long run without 30-40 people standing around looking at the hole.

    • Remember in the news how the Japanese fixed a massive sinkhole in mere days? They do this because they work efficiently, have professional engineering management, actually want to do high quality work.

      Meantime in the Nei, our Jurassic BWS didn’t have a clue the abandoned line was there until they started digging. Then Ooopsss. We forgot about this one.

      Clearly the Nei is decades in construction expertise and efficiency behind the Japanese. Will never catch up. Yes, slop jobs all the way.

    • I agree… totally unacceptable. Before they even started digging, they should’ve known about the abandoned pipe from their drawings. If their drawings aren’t kept up, then they are really a screwed up company. I would’ve definitely expected, at the latest, by the second day the bad section was cutout and the welding of the repair section started. The question is… Why are they taking so long? Did this catch them by surprise? Bottom line… they weren’t prepared. The need better preparation and planning. BWS… expect more of this, so you should start preparation from yesterday! Your goal should be knock out a repair like this under 24 hours. If no can, then bring in the contractors.

      • The abandoned line is not a problem. Hello? ….It’s ABANDONED and not in use! Cut it off and put a permanent plug on both ends and get to work fixing the broken main.
        Yeah, I’m an old guy nowadays but in my working days I was a Resident Engineer on many highway and construction projects like this.
        Bottom line: This is a one (long) day fix.
        Nobody down there knows what their doing obviously.

  • Here we go again with the poor planning on BWS again. Nothing in place but to put out all these water main breaks which is at least 1 a week!!!! Every thing is so piece meal with our local government, and sweep under the carpet!!!

    • It is not just the BWS -infrastructure everuwhere. Our culture is decaying and with it we become a third world country. Reason: We, the people collectively.

  • Ben Cayetano predicted this. Instead of blowing so much money on the rail the City should have been bringing our infrastructure back up to par. Our water bills are skyrocketing because of the sewer charges. The sewer charges are going up because of our aging system. So now we’re paying more for water IN ADDITION to being taxed more for the rail boondoggle. And we keep voting the same people in. Unbelievable.

    • Unfortunately, the only ones to vote in instead are mostly re-treads. Very few new and “talented” ones are available. So, the police were asked to monitor the situation, sounds like the LifeLock commercial, how about some pro-active efforts!

  • Starting the 3rd day from the initial notification of line breakage… and BWS haven’t even started welding in the new section? OMFG!!!!

    At this point, only thing that would be more shocking is if no one is held accountable for poor planning and anticipation.

  • BWS spokesperson said, “What we normally do is we cut it out and weld a new section.” Possibly she misspoke and meant make the repair connections with a mechanical joint (mj) couplings since cast iron and ductile iron are hard to weld.

    • So if one is to give BWS the benefit of the doubt, the existing cast iron OD doesn’t match the new ductile iron repair section OD so the new repair couplings have to be ordered on a business day and flown in to Hawaii.

  • Interesting that not a word was stated about people losing water service. I live in the area and I couldn’t understand why the single lane now open couldn’t have been used almost from the beginning. There also seemed to be ways to cone two lanes to go around the repair efforts. Traffic would still have been bad but nowhere near what it was on Saturday. My neighbor, on the advice of others, took the Waimanalo route (turned out to be a bad decision) that took three hours from downtown. Every time we have a major traffic issue I wonder if there’s anybody on staff at the City or State who has the expertise to make decisions with motorist in mind.

  • Now is the time to have an overhaul of the systems in place. Redefine the protocol when such things happen which happens continuously. Task force in place with their procedures all down to handle emergencies of these nature. Who gets mobilized, supplies in inventory at all times, ready to be delivered and transported. Emergency personal that will be on call and know who they are and companies on contracts with the city and state, knowing in such times this is their priority. These are only a few procedures and now is a good time to have a permanent plan always being updated for improvement, that will handle these emergencies.

    Why now is because many movers and shakers apparently are understanding and experiencing such a problem.

    Is their a plan of keeping up with the repaving of our roads. This is a constant project that never ends. Do they have information on each road that was repaved. How long that repavement will last. When will they need to repave each and every road as the years pass on. Constant money allocated to this. All infrastructure upkeep needs a on going plan.

    Look at the rubbish being built up on the side of H1 from the viaduct to the Leeward Community College area. That should be kept clean every so often. Is their a plan for something simple as that although dangerous when that work needs to be done.

  • It’s Monday.. drove by there at around 11:30 this morning. Traffic not too bad. Still took like 20 minutes to get from Waialae cutoff to the job site are. But, still hate to see what I saw. Obviously the 1 guy operating the backhoe was working and he was maneuvering it… don’t know how many folks in the hole (can’t see). But… there were literally like 8-10 folks wearing bright yellow vests standing by the hole and just staring in it. Look like a bunch on interns. After creeping in the traffic, and when you come to that area to see that… I want to blow up and yell at them to HURRY UP! As a suggestion to BWS, don’t allow your interns to just stand there and do nothing physical. At least have them grab brooms and look like the contributing someway physically. Otherwise its very annoying to us drivers who been stuck in that jam for a while.

  • The water main broke on Saturday, and will not be fixed until Thursday, which is five days. When does the Board of Water Supply start telling the residents east of the water main break to start to conserve water? Will East Honolulu run out of water? Are the water wells in the mountains in East Honolulu capable of supplying enough water for the area for the five days?

  • Since the former head of the Board of Water Supply is due to be out of work in June, I propose that we bring her back to the BWS to finish the job she started.

  • In Hawaii buried cast iron pipe underground with all of the moisture related to the natural island aquafer in balance with the corrosive undeground ocean water opposing the basal lens, which means the pipe buried 18 feet close to the shoreline experiences a wet harsh corrosive salt water environment. Why doesn’t the Board of Water supply use high density polyethylene plastic to replace the cast iron pipes that don’t seem to last more then 50 years? HDPE pipes should approach twice the service life of cast iron pipe in Hawaii. Check online and HDPE Is widely accepted for buried main potable drinking water lines that does not rust, corrode, is lighter and cheaper to install than cast iron, its heat fused joints are leak free and stronger than the pipe itself, etc. They also have compression type adapter joints to safely connect HDPE to cast iron pipes as well. When the cast iron Ala Wai sewage forcemain pipe broke releasing over 47 million gallons of raw sewage into the ocean near Waikiki and Ala Moana beach, they replaced it with ‘plastic’ HDPE pipe because you could see the pipe layed out before they installed it. Is this a job security thing for Board of Water supply workers who probably dont have the training and expertise to replace vulnerable cast iron pipe with new sections of HDPE pipes every chance they get like now when they had no choice but to massively dig the road and expose the entire pipe section for replacement?

  • I watched the news and they only focused on the east bound traffic. The traffic coming through Waimanalo is ridiculous. We are backed ul to Key Drive. Rhys traffic coming east bound, over the break is a lot mess congested than the Waimsnalo route.

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