Waimea road openingBy Steve Murray
Beth Smith can't wait. She's excited about tomorrow afternoon's opening of the reconstructed section of Kamehameha Highway, closed by a March 9 rockslide.
The lunch manager at Haleiwa Joe's Seafood Grill in Haleiwa is very happy the work is finished.
"It's great!" she said. "We can't wait to have the road back and the beach back to its pristine condition."
The rockslide forced the closing of a portion of Kamehameha Highway near Waimea Bay. A temporary bypass road was built across the beach to allow traffic into the area. The original road was moved closer to the ocean and the area above the road was cleared of loose rocks that could cause another slide to occur.
Although the temporary road allowed traffic to flow, business still suffered. Smith said the circle- island tours stopped coming and a lot of visitors were warned to avoid that section of the highway.
Surf and Sea Hawaii manager Tom Grensell said business has been good for some time but customers still called to find out if the road was passable.
"We will able to rest now that everything is back to normal," he said.
Some speculated the opening of the road would be delayed because of unseen problems during construction, but it was finished on time. Marilyn Kali, state transportation spokeswoman, said the contractors finished the job in the 60 days that was required in the contract. By finishing the job on time, the company did not qualify for any bonuses or fines that could have been assessed as a condition of completion.
Finishing work on the highway will continue for the next couple of weeks, but the road will be open for travel. Kali said the finishing work does not fall under the timetable set in the contract, and no delay costs will be imposed on the contractor.
Removal of the temporary road will begin next week and is expected to be finished by the end of the month.
The road will open following a ceremony dedicating the new stretch. The events are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. tomorrow and the road to open at 2 p.m.