Monday, June 2, 2003

Fallen dirt blocks
lane at Castle Jct.

It's the second time in less than two weeks
that a small landslide has occurred there

For the second time in less than two weeks, a huge pile of dirt slid down the mountainside at an area designated as the fifth most hazardous landslide site along Oahu roadways.

About 30 cubic yards of dirt slid onto Castle Junction just before 4 a.m., said Scott Ishikawa, state Department of Transportation spokesman. The dirt blocked the right-turn lane for motorists getting off Kalanianaole Highway and getting onto Kamehameha Highway.

The dirt did not land on any motorists. Work crews cleaned up the site by about 7 a.m. but kept the lane closed.

Ishikawa said the right-turn lane will remain closed at least through today while a contractor scales back about 2 1/2 feet of dirt over a roughly 40-foot-long stretch of the hillside as a temporary fix.

While the lane is closed, motorists who are turning right must go to the intersection.

Ishikawa said longer term options department officials are considering include scaling back the hillside further, spraying a lime coating to prevent erosion and putting up some kind of retaining wall.

About 40 cubic yards of mud and dirt slid onto the intersection May 20. After removing the dirt, no further work was done on the site after department officials determined that the hillside had stabilized.

Of this morning's landslide, Ishikawa said, "it's a little left of the last one."

Ishikawa said there was no rain in the area prior to the May 20 landslide. The National Weather Service reports that there was no rain there last night or this morning.

The Kaneohe side of Castle Junction was ranked as the fifth most hazardous potential landslide site in a report the department released May 16. Kalanianaole Highway at Makapuu Point topped the list. The report is based on a study by Earth Tech Inc. conducted June 2000 to November 2002.


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