County of Maui crews set up concrete barriers today to prevent traffic along a nearly 1-mile Hana Highway road closure in Kīpahulu where unstable cliffs pose a safety hazard.
The closure between Alelele Bridge and Lelekea Bridge in East Maui, which could last up to a month while emergency stabilizing work is done, prevents motorists from traveling completely around the rural area that connects East Maui and South Maui.
An engineering assessment Wednesday deemed the Alelele Bridge to Lelekea Bridge area unsafe due to rockfall hazards.
Four county electronic road signs to alert motorists about the closure have been stationed in Hāʻiku, Kula, Kanaio and Hāna.
However, drivers may still reach the Kīpahulu District of Haleakalā National Park from East Maui. They cannot access the park if they are traveling from the Kaupo direction.
Work to stabilize the cliffside will take weeks. County officials estimate it will take two weeks to secure a contractor within the state due to the scope of the project and the personnel the work will require. Once the work begins, rock scaling – the removal of loose or potentially unstable rocks on slopes – will occur over approximately two weeks.
Hana Highway between Alelele Bridge and Lelekea Bridge will reopen once the area is deemed safe for motorists.
In recent days, rockfall has obstructed the road, creating hazardous conditions. Last week, a vehicle was damaged in the area from rocks and cliffside mud. The driver was uninjured, but the incident accelerated rockfall mitigation work.