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Construction to begin at Lahaina housing site

Heavy construction is set to begin at the Kilohana temporary housing site in Lahaina later this week and will last approximately six months, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on Tuesday.

Kilohana, a 34-acre site located off Cane Haul Road near Wahikuli Road, is a temporary housing project funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the state to support survivors of the Aug. 8, 2023, wildfires on Maui.

The USACE is grading the land, installing utilities and preparing the site, according to a news release, before FEMA installs the units.

Kilohana, which translates to “looking point,” will create 169 new temporary housing units, primarily for individuals or single households that will range in size from one- to three-bedrooms.

At least 101 people were killed and almost 3,000 properties destroyed or damaged in the Maui wildfires in August 2023.

The heavy construction work is expected to take approximately six months due to the size of the project, as well as the site’s location on hard rock, which workers will need to blast through to install infrastructure. Initial construction already has begun, and was commemorated at a ground blessing ceremony on May 4.

Blasting at the site was scheduled to begin on May 16 or later, and will “generally take place once a day in the afternoons,” the news release said, and will be done by Blasting Technology Inc. of Kihei.

The USACE lead contractor for the project, Aktarius LLC dba Dawson AKT, is sending letters to residents located close enough to hear or feel the blasting, and is going door-to-door to contact the closest residents, the release said.

USACE also said it is anticipating Fleming Road to be closed for three to four months while sewer extension construction takes place. Exact dates for the closure are not yet available. An increase in construction traffic is anticipated throughout the construction period.

USACE archaeologists conducted preliminary surveys at the Kilohana site, and found nothing of cultural or historical significance on the grounds. An archaeologist will be on-site for “all ground-disturbing activities in the event something is uncovered,” the release said.

Once construction is completed, the site will be turned over to FEMA, which will begin installing the housing units. If sites become available before the construction’s completion, the installation may begin earlier, the release said.

Kilohana is one of numerous temporary housing projects underway to support wildfire survivors.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the beginning of this month for Ka La‘i Ola, a $115 million project led by the state Department of Human Services, which will bring 450 interim homes for survivors who did not qualify for federal assistance, as well as on-site services including child care and a resiliency center. Ka La‘i Ola is expected to house its first residents in August.

Ke Ao Maluhia at Maui Lani, a $9 million partnership between the state, Maui County, FEMA, the American Red Cross and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, will create 50 two-bedroom modular homes by the end of July. Units will be available for $2,500 per month and will include water and sewer and trash collection.
Source: The Garden Island

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