02/05/15 – DLNR Begins Repairs & Improvements To The Makapu’u Trail (Road); Hikers Will Experience Closures & Delays

Posted on Feb 5, 2015 in APO Announcements, State Parks

News Release


For Immediate News Release February 05, 2015    

Hikers Will Experience Closures & Delays


HONOLULU – The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of State Parks will begin repairs and improvements to the Makapuu lighthouse road (trail) within Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline on Monday, February 9, 2015. The roadwork will involve the reconstruction of sections of the stacked rock retaining wall, replacement of the metal culverts under the road, and repaving of the asphalt road. New lookouts will also be constructed along the trail to improve the visitor experience. 

The project is expected to last 6 months and will involve 25 days of park closures during February, March and July. Closures and construction will occur on weekdays (Mondays through Fridays) only. The parking lot and trail will be open during regular park hours on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays and holidays; 7 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. and until 7:45 p.m. after April 1). 

The park closures will be necessary when construction is blocking the trail and during the paving. An effort is being made to keep the park open and make one side of the trail accessible during the other phases of construction work. However, hikers may experience some intermittent delays up to 15 minutes as machinery is moving on the road. Everyone needs to use caution on the trail during this work – stay on the designated trail and out of construction areas, watch for metal plates on the trail, and avoid park lookouts that will be closed while they are being renovated. 

The project will not affect the Makapu‘u lookout along Kalaniana‘ole Highway. The Kaiwi shoreline will remain open during the project, but during the park closures, the public must enter from the Sandy Beach end of the park, as the parking lot for the Makapu‘u Trail will be closed. 

The tentative schedule for park closures is: 

– Monday, February 9 through Friday, February 13 
– Tuesday, February 17 through Friday, February 20 
– Monday, February 23 through Friday February 27 
– Monday, March 2 through Thursday, March 5 

Tentative closure days in July are July 20-24 and July 27-28. The closure days in July will be confirmed in early July when the construction schedule is evaluated. 

The improvements were designed by Mitsunaga and Associates, Inc. The repairs and construction work is being done by Haron Construction, Inc. at an estimated cost of $2.7 million. This project is funded with State Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funds with additional funding from the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). 

“We are glad to be moving forward with these much needed repairs and improvements to the Makapu‘u Trail,” said Dan Quinn, State Parks Administrator. “We know how popular this trail is with both residents and visitors and therefore, we have tried to minimize the park closures. As requested by the community, we are keeping the trail accessible during construction when it is safe to do so.” 

Project Description 

The Makapu‘u Road was built in 1909, to provide access to the Makapu‘u Lighthouse and to the lighthouse keeper residence at the summit. Improvements to the road were made in the 1930s, including paving, rock and mortar vehicle barriers, and drainage ditches and culverts. This current project seeks to preserve this historic feature and promote safety for the estimated 400 people who use the one-mile trail daily to reach the summit of Makapu‘u and experience the panoramic views of southeastern O‘ahu. 

In recent years, the 10 to 12-foot wide asphalt road has been undercut in areas, the stacked rock retaining walls at the edge of the road have become unstable, and the asphalt road surface is marked by potholes and cracking. Unstable retaining walls and erosion along the road edges where there are steep drop-offs have created a safety concern for the U.S. Coast Guard and State Parks vehicles that use the road for maintenance purposes. The roadwork will involve the reconstruction of sections of the stacked rock retaining wall, replacement of the metal culverts under the road, and repaving of the asphalt road. 

In addition, new features will be constructed along the trail to improve the visitor experience. Four (4) small lookouts with interpretive signs and viewing scopes are proposed along the makai side of the roadway to enhance the viewing of the coastline and the whales. These lookouts will stabilize surfaces where people are already stopping to take in the views. A small rest stop with a bench will be located along the mauka side of the upper trail. 

Repair and improvements will also be conducted at the upper two lookouts originally constructed in 1991. The uppermost lookout will be expanded about 8 feet and new railings will be installed. The natural dirt surface between the two lookouts is heavily eroded and a new concrete walkway will be constructed to connect these lookouts. For safety, new fencing will be installed along the cliff edge.

Park Background 

The Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline consists of 347 acres, including the 38 acres at the summit of Makapu‘u Head that was received from the federal government in 1987, the 308 acres of the Wawamalu shoreline acquired from Bishop Estate in 2001, and the 1-acre Makapu‘u Lookout along Kalaniana‘ole Highway that was transferred from the City and County of Honolulu. These lands have been set aside to preserve the open space along this southeastern shoreline of O‘ahu. 

Recreational opportunities include the one mile hike (one-way) to the summit of Makapu‘u Head, shoreline fishing, whale watching, and beach activities at the sandy coves, inlets, and tidepools. An estimated 350,000 people visit the park annually (2009 visitor counts by State Parks). The Makapu‘u Lookout is more heavily visited with over 200,000 visitors annually while another 150,000 people hike the Makapu‘u Trail or participate in ocean recreation activities along the Kaiwi shoreline. It is estimated that 400 people hike the Makapu‘u Trail each day with heavier use on the weekends. During these counts, it was found that about 75% of the hikers are residents, many who use the trail regularly for exercise. 

Land & Water Conservation Fund Program 

The project is supported by a $200,000 grant from the National Park Service through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) program awarded to the DLNR Division of State Parks. The Department of the Interior, National Park Service administers the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) program to promote public outdoor recreation. Since 1965, the State of Hawai’i has received more than $38 million in LWCF assistance.  Parks funded through LWCF grants are protected in perpetuity for public outdoor recreation purposes through section 6(f)3 of the LWCF Act of 1965. The LWCF Program celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014. 

Dan Dennison                                 
Senior Communications Manager                
Office of the Chair
Hawaii Department of Land & Natural Resources
1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 130 
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Tel    808-587-0407
Cell   808-295-8749 
Fax   808-587-0390