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DOT’s seawall ‘solution’ to highway erosion will never work

By Staff | Sep 22, 2016

How long will our state officials continue the insanity of repeating costly and devastating mistakes regarding our Maui coastline?

The current controversy involves the DOT’s movement on another multi-million dollar cement and boulder revetment at Milepost 16 along Honoapiilani Highway at the Olowalu surf spot.

Mind you, this is on the bumper of the same sort of Looney Tunes ($$$) work recently completed down the road at Thousand Peaks that is already failing with surf washing over the wall and, more importantly, the boulders giving way underneath to rising sea levels.

The bottom line premise here is that this type of “solution” will never work. Building a wall will never work against Mother Nature. It will never stand up against the rising sea levels exasperated by mankind’s effect on global warming and rising sea levels that have been pushed ever higher by the record Arctic meltdown this year.

We are moving further into devastating our cherished coastline, particularly the propagating reef life at Olowalu that is one of Hawaii’s most important and prized ocean elements.

Each time we put up a wall or build along the coastline, or allow runoff into the ocean, the damage moves down the coast and out to sea. We are killing the Golden Goose.

The frustrating and sad part here is that the solution is so very simple it hurts to think about it. There is an old cane haul road alignment that runs from the old millyard in Lahaina (and north to Kahana) all the way to the Pali. It is about 20 yards inland of the existing highway and could have been acquired by federal, state or county eminent domain procedures as a solution to sustainability and traffic issues decades ago.

A few years ago, there was talk from the Mayor Arakawa Administration of moving the road alignment in and making the coastline from Olowalu to the Pali a park. The county even stepped up and acquired land. Why this cane haul road – that has been used in the past for recreational races like the Maui Marathon – is not a priority solution to the degradation of the coastline (and the constant traffic congestion) is a sad, sad commentary on Hawaii/Maui government and foresight.

Why do we not listen to President Barack Obama in his recent message to the world to preserve our ocean resources? Why do we not listen to the message of the Hokule’a in her current voyage to Malama Honua – to nurture in a motherly way our Earth? We all need to listen more closely.