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North Shore access now 24/7

HANALEI — Kuhio Highway at mile marker 1, dubbed “Hanalei Hill,” is now open to two-way traffic all day every day, allowing motorists access to and from Hanalei, Wainiha and Ha‘ena without needing to wait for a convoy.

This first step to expanded access marks the completion of the emergency construction of the massive project to stabilize the hillside after the March 11 landslide.

Access has slowly been increasing since limited public access began on March 20.

The closures had a crippling effect on businesses that struggled to find workers and often had to manage their own deliveries, as many delivery services would not go past Princeville.

“We were all losing our minds,” said Joell Edwards, part-owner of Wainiha Country Market. “We would have to close and run up the hill (to pick up product).”

For Edwards, more access has brought stability to her business.

“When the road was closed, there was a small window that (visitors) could come down here, and they would just kind of rush in, touch a lot of things, and rush out without buying anything.”

Now visitors tend to spend more time at her business, and make purchases.

Stabilizing the hill was a massive undertaking.

Since the March landslide, response and emergency work has included the installation of over 500 soil nails as a preventive measure in improving slope stability, road reconstruction and resurfacing, and clearing over 80,000 tons of debris. This phase of construction also involved concrete work to stabilize a drainage tunnel located mid-slope.

The second and final phase of the project, currently in the design stage, is anticipated to begin in early 2022.

Phase two work will focus on further stabilization of the lower portion of the slope, hillside drainage improvements, and safety and sustainability efforts to protect residents and restore the area landscape.

Continued updates on the Hanalei Hill landslide project can be found at hidot.hawaii.gov/2021-hanalei-hill-landslide.

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Laurel Smith, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0424 or lsmith@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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