3 East Maui meetings, June 3-4
The County of Maui will hold three community meetings for residents and businesses impacted by the emergency road closure at the Alelele Point area in East Maui. Two meetings will be held June 3, in East Maui, and a third will follow the next day, June 4, in Kaupō.
- A meeting in Kīpahulu is set from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 3, at the Kalena Triangle.
- A Hāna town meeting will be held 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 3, at Wananalua Church hall.
- Finally, a Kaupō meeting is scheduled from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Sunday, June 4, at Kaupō School.
Rockfalls near Alelele Point caused vehicle damages and obstructed the roadway, forcing a one-mile road closure of Hāna Highway from Alelele to Lelekea bridges starting May 10 due to unsafe conditions.
For information on the community meetings, call the Mayor’s Office at 808-270-7855.
Rock scaling starts June 5
Roughly 1,500 tons of rock debris will need to be removed, a consultant said last week following an assessment of the area. The county will select a contractor Tuesday. Rock scaling is estimated to start June 5 and last about three weeks. The initial emergency cliffside stabilization work will cost approximately $900,000.
The remote, narrow roadway connects the rural areas of Kīpahulu and Kaupō. If motorists approach the barricade closure from either Hāna / Kīpahulu or from Kaupō / Kanaio, they must U-turn and return the way they came. Haleakalā National Park Kīpahulu District remains accessible through Hāna.
Visitors urged to avoid individual trips to East Maui
Tourism industry officials are asking visitors to help curb traffic congestion by choosing group tours instead of driving individually to Hāna. This comes after the closure of Hāna Highway between Alelele and Lelekea bridges near Kīpahulu due to recent rockfalls and planned slope stabilization work.
“Out of the respect for the Hāna community, it is recommended to experience the road to Hāna through a guided tour and not to drive it on your own,” said Janet Kuwahara, Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau senior manager of operations in a County news release. “This is the only accessibility for the Hāna community, they depend on Hāna Highway for access to work, supplies, emergency services, etc. Your kōkua and sensitivity is appreciated until the road repairs are completed between Kīpahulu and Kaupō and is open and safe to travel.”
The road is still open from the Kahului Airport in Central Maui to Hāna-Maui Resort in East Maui via the Hāna Highway. The closure impacts travel in the Kīpahulu area beyond Hāna town, preventing motorists from traveling around the “back side” that connects East Maui and South Maui. More information is posted here.
Residents asked to report impacts/needs
Residents impacted by the emergency closure are asked to report impacts and needs for assistance.
East Maui, Kaupō and Kanaio residents affected by the closure should report impacts through the Maui Emergency Management Agency online form to help determine the extent of impact and identify people in need of assistance. The form can be found here.
Recent rockfalls forced the roughly one-mile closure of Hāna Highway from Alelele to Lelekea bridges on May 10 after an engineering expert deemed the area unsafe. The remote, narrow roadway connects Kīpahulu and Kaupō. If motorists approach the closure from either Hāna / Kīpahulu or from Kaupō / Kanaio, they must U-turn and return the way they came.
Emergency stabilization efforts are under way. Area scoping using drones and other technology are occurring now. Proposals from contractors have been solicited, and selection will follow the May 30 deadline for proposals.
Two deadly rockfalls reported in the area in the past
The location is considered dangerous, with two deaths documented years ago due to rockfalls in the area. People are urged against bypassing cement barriers to traverse the road.
- In 2004, a Kīpahulu national park ranger was killed in the area after a 3-foot boulder struck her when she stopped to clear rocks from the roadway.
- In 2006, a Hāna resident was resting near Lelekea stream after a hike when he was crushed and killed by a 2,500-pound boulder.