by: Stephen Florino
MAUI (KHNL) - Life is getting back to normal for about 300 residents in east Maui. October's earthquake damaged the Paihi bridge, cutting people off from Hana, and the rest of the island. A temporary bridge has finally been installed.
It took 6 weeks to put up because the parts had to be shipped in from the mainland. It only took a week to install.
Maui's mayor says it's not 100-percent back to normal, but it's the first step in the slow process of making that area safer.
There was a Hawaiian blessing for this blessing for the residents of Kipahulu and Kaupo in east Maui.
"I've been camping in the beach in Hana for the last 48 days," said Ipo Hoopii. "This is what, a blessing or it's not."
"Everybody can get back to normal, get back to regular life, to how was before," said Shawn Redo.
Frustrated residents were cut off for six weeks. The old Paihi Bridge was damaged in October's massive earthquake.
"It becomes a hardship when it's closed to walking, and also any kind of vehicle," said Geraldine Naihe Carroll. "People been crossing over, although it was closed to the public."
With no one being able to get to Hana, supplies were dropped in by helicopter twice a week. It gave some time to enjoy.
"We had a beautiful oasis of time without the bridge here where everybody got to relax and really enjoy Hana the way Hana used to be," said Arabella Ark.
But everyone is happy their roadway is back.
Maui Mayor Alan Arawkawa thanked everyone for their cooperation, but said there are more trying times for these people in the near future.
Crews must eventually tackle the rockslide problem in the area. When that happens, there will be road closures.
Residents say they'll cross that bridge when they get to it.