Kauai highway partially reopens after landslide

HONOLULU — Hawaii officials on Tuesday partially reopened a highway on Kauai that was covered by a landslide after heavy rains last week, reconnecting several small towns that had been cut off from the rest of the island.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation opened an emergency access lane on Kuhio Highway for those driving to the towns of Hanalei, Haena and Wainiha. Firefighters, medical personnel and others providing critical services like potable water will be allowed to drive on the road for the next two days.

The department said it was working on a plan to provide public access to the road later this week. These measures will likely limit access during construction hours.

Last week, volunteers launched a makeshift ferry service across the Hanalei River to get food and people in and out of the towns.

In 2018, landslides triggered by heavy rain blocked the same highway, isolating Haena and Wainiha, two of the same towns cut off this time. Repairs to fully reopen the road after that event took 14 months.

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