Thousands of vehicles pass over the Nimitz Highway viaduct east of Honolulu International Airport every day, their occupants oblivious to a sparsely populated but sprawling homeless encampment beneath them.

But the state Department of Transportation knows. It posted notification in late July that it intended to sweep the area soon as part of its semi-annual clearing-out of encampments on DOT property, lending even more uncertainty to the lives of those who have set up shop beneath the highway and along the shores of waterways near Keehi Lagoon.

The sweep had been scheduled for Monday, but Gov. David Ige postponed it and has yet set a new timeline, according to his spokeswoman.

Civil Beat intern Marina Riker — armed with a video camera — and I ventured there on foot and by canoe earlier this week to bring back this visual report.

The living areas ranged from a corral of wooden shipping pallets under the overpass to a roofed structure that resembled a micro-house. The air smelled of burning wood, urine and fermenting trash. It’s unclear how many people are living there. Those we met were friendly but mostly unwilling to be photographed.

They’re just waiting to see what comes next.

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