Hawaii Highways Closed For Accidents, Infuriating Residents and Visitors

Hawaii Highways Closed For Accidents, Infuriating Residents and Visitors

In Hawaii, and it seems more than in other places, the highway can be suddenly closed for various reasons. Our thoughts always go out to those injured. The frustration is likened to flying across the Pacific, where diversion points are limited. Driving isn’t always carefree, as pictured above yesterday on Maui. During those times, you may have no choice but to turn off your motor and make new friends. During a recent highway closure we experienced between Lihue and Poipu, people started handing out frozen treats that were melting.

All this comes on the heels of our article Friday about Driving In Hawaii 2023 | “The Worst State.”

While on Oahu, there are generally alternative routes to escape traffic delays, that’s not always true on the neighboring islands. Now that I’ve said this, today may be an issue on Oahu for those trying to attend the huge-wave-driven “Eddie” at Waimea Bay on the north shore. Which we would love to have attended had we not been totally fearful of getting there and back unscathed.

The highway from West Maui to Kahului closed Saturday.

Yesterday a dump truck on Maui overturned on the Pali of the Honoapililani Highway that goes from West Maui towards Kahului. Emergency units arrived at the accident at approximately 9:30 AM on Saturday. Police were eventually able to set up a shared one-lane access while the accident scene was cleared. That took nearly six hours to be completed.

Visitor Glenna was stuck in the accident traffic. She reported (excerpted): “We left Kaanapali at 10:30 this morning on our way to Kihei. We are still not in Kihei – it’s 2pm. This is ridiculous. We heard that a dump truck flipped over somewhere ahead. Who knows. People are missing flights. Got out of the car (this is standstill traffic) and chatted with someone who left three hours ahead for their flight at 3pm and they will miss it now. Plus, they’re running out of gas. Taking this long to clear an accident is not ok.”

Editor Jeff, not long ago, also took the drive from Kaanapali to Kahului to catch a flight. He planned for the 27-mile drive to take a solid two hours (and he stopped for coffee and food before taking off). Well, wrong, it took nearly three hours, and he just about missed his flight. There was no accident, just incredible traffic. It was completely nerve-wracking.

The road to Waimea Canyon And Kokee State Park was closed Saturday too.

Yesterday your editors were heading to cover an event in Kokee State Park. It was late in the day, and we were surprised that there were simply no cars exiting the park. We learned that a tree fell across the road early in the day, which resulted in a widespread power outage in the parks and the only road in until about 4 PM. The event we attended was a pop-up dinner at Kokee Lodge, starting at 6 pm, that almost got canceled.

Were you caught in one of these delays on Saturday?

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61 thoughts on “Hawaii Highways Closed For Accidents, Infuriating Residents and Visitors”

  1. Thank you for all your information we’re traveling in Hawaii “island hopping” 9/6-9/18/23. 2 tours reserved but will attempt Road to Hana ourselves???? Looking forward to visiting Leonard’s Bakery. 4days in Kaui, again on our own. I’m a senior traveling with my Adult Special Needs son. He’s so excited, so am I!!

  2. Hawaii’s public services are incompetent. Accidents happen but they have no plan to clear them. I sat for 3 hours today for a dump truck that turned over 2 hours before I got into traffic. You get a get a government that cares about its citizens it’s visitors and its reputation. I can’t believe that this is a state. They are incompetent head to toe.

  3. Forgive me for excessive responses, but I just received a response-the Maui to Molokai race was the “Pailolo Challenge”. Cancelled last fall tho. Beyond that, who knows….but, good news, there are like minded individuals out there –smiles–

  4. Traffic that we have to put up with because of too much people over filled our islands; and than expect it to stay the same.
    While our lively hood spikes upwards higher & higher….
    You’re illusionary idea, isn’t close to what hell it’s become to have to tolerate why we suffer the same unreasonable things, all for the love of thees islands!

  5. We were on the road that day to Haleakalā. We too, we’re stopped on the highway. What a beautiful view to see when your stopped.

  6. We left Kahana Beach at 10:45 w/plans to eat lunch, gas up, return the car, and arrive at the airport 2+ hours prior to our flight. Our 45-commute turned out to be 3 hours & 45 minutes, so we skipped lunch and gas. We return the car (now late), took that tram, got through security, and boarded 10 mins prior to the original departure time. Our flight waited a little more in hopes that passengers would make it. I think we allowed plenty of time🤷🏻‍♀️ We spent most of those extra hours planning “what ifs” about hotel, what to do, etc. and looking out into the beautiful waters. Delay increased our rental by $80.

    We shared on FB, so 1 couple who’s coming in February booked their final night at an airport hotel to avoid this potential problem


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