Kauai County unveils plans to repair flood-ravaged areas near iconic Hanalei pier

Kauai County unveils plans to repair flood-ravaged areas near iconic Hanalei pier
Updated: Aug. 13, 2018 at 7:06 PM HST
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HANALEI, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - On Kauai, its been almost four months since historic flooding devastated parts of the island.

On Monday night, at Hanalei Elementary School, the county unveiled its plans to repair the area around the iconic Hanalei Pier.

Lyle Tabata, acting county engineer, says the county will be using different designs and stronger materials this time to help prevent serious damage and erosion in the future.

At Black Pot Beach Park, which has been closed since the flood, he says crews will be constructing a new, larger bathroom, that will be raised seven feet in the air to comply with FEMA's floodplain management requirements.

For heavily-eroded Weke Road, Tabata says the plan is to build underground wall-like structures along each side of the roadway.

"Then we'll end up with eight inches of concrete from end to end. That will be definitely stronger and should withstand any kind of similar event in the future," Tabata said.

The county also has permits to begin dredging sand that was lost during the storm.

"We tested for bacteria, grain size, and we found that it's clean. The sand is clean," said Tabata.

Some residents worry about disturbing these new habitats created by the flood, while others are concerned about sanitation, pointing to septic tanks still stuck in the sand.

Makaala Kaaumoana, executive director of the Hanalei Watershed Hui, says the county should take what happened back in April as a hint from Mother Nature.

"For us, it was not at all surprising that the water took the path it took. We're calling it a rain bomb. We're calling it the first real incident of climate change in Hawaii. All of those things say pay attention, step up," Kaaumoana said.

Makaala Kaaumoana says the county should think twice about rebuilding on sandy coastal areas.

She says there also needs to be a conversation about visitor limits to preserve Black Pot Beach Park.

"This is county park. First and foremost, it's for us, the citizens of Kauai. We don't mind sharing, we have lots of aloha and we love to share, but it has to be available for us," Kaaumoana said.

The county says all projects are expected to be completed by late 2019.

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