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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, October 28, 2002

Meeting set for Makapu'u rockslide project

By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Windward O'ahu Writer

WAIMANALO — After saying that safety measures would not be installed above Makapu'u Beach before February despite a recent rockslide that sent a truckload of rocks and debris onto Kalaniana'ole Highway, state transportation officials have relented and now want to talk to the community about how to get the work done sooner.

A meeting has been scheduled for 7 p.m. today at Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate School and Public Library to discuss road closures during work to install steel mesh over the cliffs above the highway.

"If there's a great groundswell to do the project all at once then it could happen 24 hours a day versus time sequences of opening and closing, which would require a longer construction period," said Highways Division administrator Glenn Yasui.

The state had announced that the project would begin in February, with the road closed during two periods every day — 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m — until the work is finished.

But area residents have pushed for an early start to the work since the Oct. 15 rockslide.

Wilson Ho, Waimanalo Neighborhood Board chairman, said closing the road 24 hours a day for the duration of the project would be impossible to live with.

"Who do they think we are?" Ho said. "Eleven thousand cars use the road every day and they want to close it. I find that absurd."

He said he's been told that if the Mainland contractor started by Nov. 1 he would have to be done by Nov. 15 because of other commitments on the Mainland.

Yasui said he would like the project finished before the holiday season. "If we can do that, it's a win for everybody," he said, acknowledging that there are several obstacles to be overcome.

Permits and licenses still need approval, Yasui said. Mainland contractors, who expected to do the project in February, would have to accelerate their schedules and get their equipment in place quickly. Plus, the local contractor has other commitments and would have to shoehorn the Makapu'u project between other jobs.

Reach Eloise Aguiar at eaguiar@honoluluadvertiser.com or 234-5266.