07/16/15 – Update On Makapu‘u Trail Closures, Expect Closures for 12 Days in August and September

Posted on Jul 17, 2015 in News Releases, State Parks

DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
News Release

DAVID Y. IGE
GOVERNOR
SUZANNE D. CASE
CHAIRPERSON

For Immediate News Release July 16, 2015 

UPDATE ON MAKAPU‘U TRAIL CLOSURES
Expect Closures for 12 Days in August and September

HONOLULU –The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of State Parks will postpone planned closures of the Makapu‘u Lighthouse Trail in Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline for trail improvements, until late August and early September. There will be no closures in late July as originally planned on the six-month project, but additional work and a new rockfall mitigation project will delay the completion to September.

The tentative schedule for the 12 days of trail closures is as follows:

– Monday, August 24 through Friday, August 28

– Monday, August 31 through Friday, September 4

– Tuesday, September 8 and Wednesday, September 9

During the trail closures, visitors will not be able to access the parking lot or trail. However, the parking lot and trail will be open during regular park hours on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays; 7 a.m. to 7:45 p.m.) and on the Labor Day holiday (Monday, September 7).

Closure of these areas is necessary during the rockfall mitigation project when hazardous boulders on the slopes above and adjacent to the trail are broken up and either left in place or removed. Because of the danger of falling rock during this stage, no one will be allowed in the parking lot or on the trail. This project is expected to take 5 days.

The other 7 days of closure are necessary as the asphalt pavement of the road is removed and the new asphalt surface is laid. The reconstructed retaining walls have been completed, the new culverts under the road have been installed, and the new lookouts are under construction.

“We are glad that we have been able to accommodate the public’s use of the trail during much of the construction work on the Makapu‘u Trail and appreciate the patience of our residents and visitors as we have made the much needed repairs to this 100-year old road. However, for everyone’s safety, it is imperative that we close the trail during the rockfall mitigation project and the road paving” said Dan Quinn, State Parks Administrator.

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 trail closures, people must enter from the Sandy Beach end of the park as the parking lot for the Makapu‘u Trail will be closed.

The Makapu‘u Road (Trail) improvements were designed by Mitsunaga and Associates, Inc. Repairs and improvements to the popular Makapu‘u (Lighthouse) Trail in the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline were initiated in February. The repairs and construction work are 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).

A geotechnical assessment for rockfall hazard along the Makapu‘u Trail was conducted by Hart Crowser, Inc. in 2015. This report identified 3 critical boulders on the slopes above the Makapu‘u Trail that posed a danger to users of the trail. Two additional areas adjacent to the road were judged to be a danger and will be chipped back. The rockfall mitigation work will be conducted by Prometheus Construction at a cost of $68,800.

Information on Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline and Makapuu lighthouse trail can be found at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/oahu/kaiwi-state-scenic-shoreline/

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Media Contact:
Deborah Ward
Public Information Specialist
(808) 587-0320

Background

The Makapu‘u Road was built in 1909 to provide access to the Makapu‘u Lighthouse and the lighthouse keeper’s residences 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 are being 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, a new rock wall will be installed along the cliff edge.

A geotechnical assessment for rockfall hazard along the Makapu‘u Trail was conducted by Hart Crowser, Inc. in 2015. This report identified 3 critical boulders on the slopes above the Makapu‘u Trail that posed a danger to users of the trail. Two additional areas adjacent to the road were judged to be a danger and will be chipped back. The rockfall mitigation work will be conducted by Prometheus Construction at a cost of $68,800.

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 0.8-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. During these counts, it was found that about 75% of the hikers are residents, many who use the trail regularly for exercise.

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.

An LWCF grant for $200,000 was awarded to the Department of Land and Natural Resources to assist with repair and improvements to the Makapu‘u Road (Trail).