Maui County is asking residents affected by the emergency closure of Hana Highway near Kipaholu to report impacts and needs for assistance as crews continue to cover the area damaged by the latest rockfall.
East Maui, Kaupo and Kanaio residents should report impacts through the Maui Emergency Management Agency’s online form at www.mauicounty.gov/MEMA.
The county said Tuesday that details of community meetings with Mayo County officials in Kipaholo and Kapu will be announced soon.
The latest rockfall forced the closure of nearly a mile of the highway between the Ellele and Lelekia bridges on May 10 after an engineering expert deemed the area unsafe. Drivers approaching the dam from Hana/Kipahulu or Kapu/Kanaio should turn around and go back the way they came.
Motorists can still travel directly from Kahului to the city of Hana along the Hana Highway. A spokesperson for Hana-Maui Resort said the resort’s route is not affected, although tourism industry officials are urging visitors to avoid traffic congestion by choosing group tours rather than driving individually to Hana. to help
“Out of respect for the Hana community, it is recommended to experience the Road to Hana through a guided tour and not drive it yourself.” said Janet Kuhara, senior director of operations for the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau. “This is the only access for the Hana community, they rely on the Hana Highway for access to work, supplies, emergency services, etc. Your cooperation and sensitivity is appreciated until the road repairs between Kapahulu and Kapu are complete. Be open and secure. Travel.”
Emergency stabilization efforts are underway, using drones and other technology to survey the area, the county said. The county is also soliciting proposals from contractors and will make selections after a May 30 deadline for proposals. Rock scaling and other slope stabilization work at the site is expected to begin by June 5 and take three weeks.
The province also advised people to cross cement barriers to cross the road and pointed out the dangers that have caused landslides in the past.
In 2004, a Kipaholo National Park ranger was killed in the area after a 3-foot boulder struck her as she stopped to clear rocks from the road.
In 2006, a Hanna resident was resting after a hike near the Lilica River when he was struck and killed by a 2,500-pound boulder.