County monitoring damaged section of Lower Honoapiilani Road in Kahana
KAHANA – A fissure has opened in the shoulder/cliff on the makai (ocean) side of Lower Honoapiilani Road across from the 4740 address in Kahana.
The Lahaina News requested an update from David Goode, director of the Maui County Department of Public Works.
“I just talked to our engineer who has been monitoring it since Thanksgiving, and she concurs it has gotten worse quicker than first thought,” Goode explained in an e-mail.
“She is evaluating a number of options – most of which are permit-intensive and therefore may have long lead times. She is also looking at some short-term measures that are not so permit-intensive. We will also discuss with our procurement folks what ’emergency’ options are available, if any, and are in the process of engaging outside coastal engineering expertise.”
This section of Lower Honoapiilani Road was recently repaved. The segment was previously slated to be fully reconstructed, with sidewalks and drainage systems added, among other improvements.
“That previous federally funded project was shelved for a number of reasons, including land acquisition, but also because a community consensus seemed elusive,” Goode explained.
He concluded by noting the county will actively monitor the situation and implement safety measures if and when necessary.
Resident John Seebart lives near the damaged roadway.
“This is potentially both a life-threatening situation and an environmentally significant problem. Environmentally, because the sewer is beneath the road. We do not want Kahana, Napili and Kapalua to be without a sewer, nor do we want the contents of the sewer in the ocean,” he wrote in a communication to the paper.
Traffic barriers were placed just north of the site when there were collapses of the cliff there during the heavy rains in the fall of 2017. Now, winter swells are battering the area.
Seebart believes heavy trucks and buses should not be allowed to use this stretch of the road, as the vibrations could shake and loosen the cliff.
“I’m not an engineer, but I think it is time to get at least the heavy vehicles off the lower road, before a bus full of people falls into a sink hole. Maybe the makai lane should be closed now, as a precaution, until a solution is in place,” he wrote.
“As has been reported recently in the newspaper and on local TV, our shoreline is under assault and erosion is rampant. I believe this particular problem is a significant problem which should be dealt with before we lose the road, the sewer and, God forbid, lives.”