HANALEI — A two-story house is teetering on crumbling foundations over the repair project on Weke Road, where April floods damaged homes and destroyed the roadway.
The house survived April floods with a small amount of damage, but the Hurricane Lane’s rains raised the water table in the Hanalei River again and it wasn’t spared a second time.
Instead, the floodwaters flowed through the Weke Road project, taking out a temporary access road built so heavy machinery could access sand needed for the road repairs.
“The water came down and hit that big rock there, and that funneled it down right through the house and past the foundation,” said Kent Placeb, project inspector, who was on-site at the Weke Road project Wednesday assessing damage.
He continued: “The force of the water coming around, it took out the footings. If you look on the other side of the road, now you have another car that’s in the water.”
That Jeep Wrangler is on its side, partially submerged on the Sheehan property, one of several houses that sustained severe flooding and damages in April. During that flood, three of the Sheehan family’s vehicles were washed into Black Pot Beach Park.
Next door, Hurricane Lane rain saturated the caution tape that still wraps around a two-story home partially collapsed from April’s floods. Derelict pieces of walls and doors now sit in a fresh pool of water.
“Both my daughter and son’s houses had some damage this time around. They were flooded in April,” said Patsy Sheehan, who was walking down Weke Road armed with cleaning supplies. “The water came up five feet in my daughter’s house and went through the whole first floor of my son’s, but this time it wasn’t as bad.”
She pointed out the work on Weke Road probably minimized some of the damage caused by Hurricane Lane’s flooding on properties like theirs because the floodwaters had a different path to the ocean.
That’s a relief for those families because they’re still working with the aftermath of the April floods — things like an uptick in curious passers by and in insects like flies.
“You see these flies? They’re from April,” Sheehan said, pointing to the bugs hovering on the grassy road shoulders. “And there are always people coming up and down the road, going to take a look at Black Pot.”
She suggested the County of Kauai put some significant effort into expanding, cleaning or repairing the other beach parks in Hanalei to give people more options for places to go, especially since the road to Haena is closed.
“I don’t know what this all means for the beach park (Black Pot Beach Park restoration project), but the winter season is coming up and you’ve got the big waves and the surfers coming out. They need somewhere to go,” she said. “It makes for dangerous situations, having people parked on both sides of the road.”
The Weke Road project is expected to be completed in 2019, and Placeb said topographical surveys by a team arriving on site Wednesday would help project managers understand how much of a setback Hurricane Lane caused.
“They already did it once and came up with needing 14 cubic yards of sand, however that sand is now washed away so we have to take another view and recalculate how much they need,” Placeb said. “To summarize, we’ve had a little setback from Hurricane Lane.”
Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.