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Limited use of Kauai’s storm-ravaged Kuhio Highway starts Friday

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    Workers and heavy construction equipment clear mud and debris from the road to Wainiha as it is blocked by landslides on April 19.

A single-lane route on a two-mile stretch of Kuhio Highway, from Waikoko to Wainiha, will open to local traffic starting Friday, state and Kauai county officials said today.

Residents of Wainiha and Haena driving vehicles under 10,000 pounds will be allowed to use the single lane on Kuhio Highway between the hours of 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., weather and conditions permitting, officials said.

“Safety is our first priority as we continue recovery efforts in the areas that were isolated last month by heavy flooding and numerous landslides,” Gov. David Ige said in a news release. “We are actively deploying disaster response resources to help residents and businesses in those areas. I am pleased that work has progressed to allow residents of Wainiha and Haena to safely use the highway; however, we are asking visitors to enjoy other areas on Kauai to avoid impacting the ongoing recovery efforts. We also ask the same of the general public.”

North Shore residents seeking access to the single-lane route are advised to check their individual vehicle weight, which can be found on the vehicle’s registration. They will also need a county placard, which will be issued to Wainiha and Haena residents only. Passenger vehicles such as sedans, SUVs and pickup trucks, generally meet the weight restrictions. All Terrain Vehicles and Utility Task Vehicles will not be permitted, officials said.

The schedule for the single lane between Waikoko and Wainiha is:

>> 6 a.m. Waikoko to Wainiha.

>> 6:30 a.m. Wainiha to Waikoko, including shuttle.

>> 12 p.m. Waikoko to Wainiha, including shuttle.

>> 12:20 p.m. Wainiha to Waikoko.

>> 12:40 p.m. Waikoko to Wainiha.

>> 1 p.m. Wainiha to Waikoko, including shuttle.

>> 6 p.m. Wainiha to Waikoko.

>> 6:30 p.m. Waikoko to Wainiha, including shuttle.

Officials said there will be manned checkpoints and guided access via escort vehicles.

To receive a placard, residents must bring their vehicle and be prepared to prove residency. Placards may be picked up from planning director Mike Dahilig at the county office at the Hanalei Colony Resort between 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. beginning today, and between 9 to 11 a.m. and 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

A total of $8 million in Federal Highway Emergency Relief funds was approved today to help restore Kuhio Highway. The total estimate to repair the two-mile stretch is $40 million, officials said.

The full reopening of Kuhio Highway from Waikoko to Wainiha for two-way traffic is expected within three to four months, state officials said.

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