Unstable Cliffs Pose Greatest Rockslide Threat

Cliff Tillotson
Cliff Tillotson

MAKAPUU POINT (KHNL) - State geologists believe the unstable cliffs at Makapuu pose the greatest danger of a rockslide.

Giant, unstable boulders loom over Kalanianaole Highway at Makapuu Point.

State engineers and geologists consider this to be the number one rockslide threat.

"Like Makapuu, that area is more like a section in Waimea with steep rock faces," said Project Supervisor Cliff Tillotson.

Five years ago a massive rockslide closed the highway and prompted the installation of safety barriers.

"There is a whole huge rock face that comes down to lose dirt. Every once in a while a boulder will come off those rock faces and roll down to the roadway and that's why that's still considered a hazard."

Also on the windward side high above Kailua Road, workers install heavy mesh to shore up this unstable hillside. Last spring the forty days of rain caused landslides.

"So it created a hazardous condition for people walking on the sidewalk and cars driving by."

Here they also install mesh to keep boulders from falling.

"We did a little bit of scaling, removing loose rock then put a lot of bolts in the hillside now we drape the hillside with heavy duty mesh, that's all gonna be anchored down."

Once they are done, pedestrians and drivers can be worry free.

"It's going to be very, very solid and stable once we are done."

Cliff's Tillotson's company also installed the mesh at Makapuu

"I would not have wanted to ride a bicycle there before we meshed it but now we meshed it feel real good about it very little has come down since we installed it."

The really dangerous thing about rock falls is that no one can predict when they will happen.