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Kauai road blocked by landslide to remain closed until end of January

Menehune Road in the Waimea area on Kauai is expected to remain fully closed until the end of January as cleanup from a Jan. 4 rock slide continues.

The roadway will be reopened when the slope above is deemed safe for daily passage, Kauai’s Department of Public Works said in a news release today.

County contractor HiTech is working seven days per week to remove and haul away rocks from Menehune Road and the slope above it.

On Tuesday crews performed two scaling runs to remove rocks and boulders. As work continues higher up on the slope, impact on the road may increase because of rockfall scaling. To prevent further damage, the road has been lined with 25 yards of cushion material.

Another five or six days of scaling runs are anticipated, weather permitting. One or two days will be needed to clean up Menehune Road and the Menehune Ditch.

As repairs continue, the county is reminding the public to not cross or approach the rockfall site, as large and loose boulders can continue to fall. Those who need to access the area can use an alternate route on Panini Road. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources opened the emergency access route, which has limited access for local residents and first responders via a four-wheel drive vehicle. Motorists are urged to drive slowly and cautiously in the area, as crews will be using heavy machinery to improve the road.

Meanwhile, repair work for the Waimea Swinging Bridge is expected to be a long-term project and will start after the slope is stabilized. The county has acknowledged that the pedestrian bridge is an important point of access to Makaweli residents and said officials will work to address the public’s continued needs. Residents who need assistance can call the Kauai Emergency Management Agency at 808-241-1800.

The next refuse collection day is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday. Residents are asked to leave bagged trash in refuse carts on Monday for pickup on Tuesday. Those without refuse carts can leave bagged waste in covered trash receptacles at the side of the road next to their driveways.

Families have reported that they have food and supplies. The department said supply deliveries will occur on a case-by-case basis and the next food distribution will be announced when a schedule has been confirmed.

Crews will continue wellness checks and needs assessments for Menehune Road residents and those on the Makaweli side of the river.

Daily updates can be found at www.kauai.gov.

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