Emergency slope scaling and rock debris removal started Sunday, June 11, at the rural Alelele Point area of East Maui. Nearly a one mile stretch of road has been closed following a rockfall on April 28, and a subsequent assessment in which officials deemed the area unsafe on May 10.
About 150 cubic yards of rock and soil debris was removed in the first three days by County of Maui contractor Prometheus Construction Inc. County officials say crew members with the contractor are rappelling along the slope, which extends nearly 300 feet high, to remove debris of silt-sand, gravel and boulders that are as large as four feet in diameter.
Large machinery is being used to assist with scaling and general rock removal. Temporary netting and other barriers are being used to protect the roadway and telephone poles with phone service lines.
The rural county roadway connects the remote communities of Kīpahulu and Kaupō. The closed portion is between Mile Markers 38 and 39.
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.
Drivers may still access Kīpahulu Visitor Center and other portions of Haleakalā National Park Kīpahulu District, along with Kīpahulu small businesses, in East Maui. Retail and restaurant businesses remain accessible through Kanaio.
The Alelele Point emergency project costs $1.5 million. Work involves slope scaling, the removal of loose or potentially unstable rocks on the cliffside by manual, mechanical or other non-explosive methods.
Crew members are working seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Approximately 1,500 tons of rock debris must be removed over about 5 acres.
Slope scaling activity is anticipated to last three weeks, and safety conditions will be reassessed at that time. Scaling work began Sunday morning following a blessing ceremony Saturday at the project site. Before that, project mobilizing and preparation occurred over several days.