Worker is injured at Waimea Bay
A 24-year-old man was to remain at the Queen's Medical Center overnight after he suffered an injury from a rock blast yesterday while doing rockfall mitigation work on a cliffside at Waimea Bay.
Lifeguards at Waimea Bay responded to the injured worker before Emergency Medical Services personnel arrived at 8:59 a.m.
He was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in serious condition, said Bryan Cheplic, spokesman for the city Emergency Services Department.
A piece of a boulder the size of a baseball struck him behind the right ear, resulting in a 2-inch gash, said Scott Ishikawa, spokesman for the Department of Transportation. "There was a lot of swelling, so they want to keep him overnight," Ishikawa said.
Ishikawa said the worker needed some stitches but did not require surgery. The worker's neurologist said he is going to be OK, he added.
The worker and others from Hi-Tech Rockfall Construction were shattering boulders using a "boulder buster" process, Ishikawa said. Workers drill holes in the boulders and pour a mixture of water and a small amount of explosive charge, similar to gunpowder, into the holes.
Protective matting and a steel curtain are used to cover the holes when the mixture is ignited, Ishikawa said.
The worker was wearing a helmet when he was standing in a cherry picker at the top of the cliffside and ignited the charge with string when he suffered the injury, Ishikawa said.
Mitigation work to remove rocks and dirt on the cliffside on Kamehameha Highway between Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church and the Waimea Valley Audubon Center continued yesterday. The project, which cost about $151,000, started last week following an inspection of the site where a rockfall had occurred in April. At the time, a contra-flow lane was set up while workers installed a temporary fence.
A consultant from Earth Tech Inc. assessed the site yesterday and observed more cracks along the cliffside, prompting the state to extend work through Saturday, Ishikawa said.
The affected cliffside was the same site where a rockfall had occurred in 2000. Part of the highway was closed for three months while the state installed a 1,000-foot impact fence.
PLANS FOR THE CLIFFSIDE
Rockfall mitigation work to a cliffside at Waimea Bay was extended through Saturday after a consultant observed more cracks yesterday, according to a spokesman with the state Department of Transportation.
Work to the cliffside to remove loose rocks and dirt started last week following a recent inspection. Work was scheduled to be completed by today, but a consultant with Earth Tech Inc. observed more cracks along the cliff, said Scott Ishikawa, transportation spokesman.
Work will continue from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with five- to 10-minute intermittent road closures to let workers remove loose rocks and dirt.
A temporary protective steel mesh net -- about 36 feet tall and 100 feet long -- was installed by Goodfellow Brothers Inc. to contain the falling rocks and debris.
Motorists are asked to be careful.