The Maui News
March 20, 2012
County officials hope to know by midweek the extent of the damage and the scope of repair work required for the Hanawana Bridge in Kailua that collapsed during heavy rains earlier this month, cutting off vehicular transportation for about 40 residents.
"It's just pure jungle," said Public Works Director David Goode on Monday. "We have to clear it out" to determine the extent of the damage.
County crews are finishing up projects this week in preparation for work next week on the earthen land bridge that was built for buggies more than 100 years ago. What's left of the bridge cannot support the weight of vehicles but is safe to walk on.
Goode said that the best-case scenario is that the bridge could be drivable in two weeks, but there are "unknowns" and the county "won't know until we get in there and see" the damage exactly how long the job will take.
"I'm trying to be somewhat cautious, because it is somewhat dangerous, and I don't want to put our people at risk," he said."Right now, we have a sheer cliff."
Goode said that the residents "have been great to work with."
"They've hui'd together really well. They have been really cooperative when we've been out there," he said, adding that there will need to be more cooperation once the repair work begins.
State Sen. J. Kalani English, who hails from East Maui and represents the area, said that the land bridge was built more than 100 years ago for horse and buggies and was later used for motor vehicles. Rock walls were built and the land filled in to create the earthen bridge.
The wall on the Hanawana Stream side of the bridge collapsed during heavy rain and part of the earthen bridge fell down the steep slope, maybe more than a 100-foot drop, on March 9, English said.
Ownership of the bridge is "in limbo," he explained. The bridge is part of an "old government road" that was not assigned to the county or the state after statehood. There are many "roads in limbo" in rural areas, English said.
"I'm really grateful to the mayor and David Goode and the county for taking the lead" in repairing the bridge despite its "limbo" status, said English. The cost of repair has been estimated at $250,000.
The state senator said that he is determined to get state money for the repairs through emergency funds.
E Copyright 2012 The Maui News.