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Gov. Ige tours Kauai landslide, visits cut-off communities

PRINCEVILLE >> In his first trip off Oahu in over a year because of the pandemic, Hawaii Gov. David Ige toured a landslide that cut off several communities on the north shore of Kauai.

Gov. Ige and Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami participated in a blessing ceremony Thursday at the site of the landslide that cut off the only roadway in and out of Hanalei and other northern communities, The Garden Island reported Friday.

“We have a lot of damage from the rain events,” Ige said. “We’re seeing more severe rain events happening that obviously create landslide issues and other issues in and around especially remote areas that create challenges for the community.”

Ige planned to visit sites from Princeville to Haena after the morning ceremony at the landslide.

“I wanted to come out and see the damaged area and work with the Department of Transportation and make sure that we can safely provide access to the community,” Ige said. “We need to make sure we can make quick and safe action to provide access.”

One lane of Kuhio Highway has been opened for emergency response such as fire fighting and EMS, critical services like garbage pickup and postal service, as well as delivery of critical supplies like medicine and food.

State officials said in a statement that scheduled or limited public access could begin this weekend.

“We’re finalizing some details now about how (to open the highway to the public), and hopefully by the end of the week we can start letting the public know,” said Larry Dill, Department of Transportation Kauai District engineer.

“It seems like it’s becoming more of an occurrence for these types of events, but I’m confident and comfortable that … you guys can overcome these types of situations,” Kauai County Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro said. “It’s comforting to know that you’re getting the work done.”

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