DOT comes up with new plan to ford Ha’ena stream

HA’ENA — The state Department of Transportation is proposing to build an

elevated ford culvert over Manoa Stream to improve vehicular

crossing.

Currently, there is no bridge over the stream, which crosses

Kuhio Highway near Ha’ena Beach Park. Motorists must ford the crossing.

The

DOT said its project will help alleviate potential hazards to motorists who

cross the stream during heavy rains.

During such times, stream runoff makes

it nearly impossible to cross, forcing traffic to be halted or rerouted until

dangerous flood conditions subside.

Roberta Haas, a 30-year resident of

Ha’ena who must traverse the crossing to get to her home, said she supports

parts of the project that will protect the stream from pollution.

But she

opposes the culvert, in principle, because it represents more urbanization of

the North Shore. Haas said she and many of her neighbors feel the area has

becoming too developed.

“What I have problems with is the changing face of

Ha’ena,” Haas said. “And as we make these upgrades, we lose part of the old

Hawaiiana charm.”

Steve Kyono, DOT’s program manager on Kaua’i, said the

department wants to maintain the rural character of the North Shore.

“The

DOT has made it clear to North Shore residents that we understand the

sensitivity to the rural ambiance to the North Shore, and we don’t intend to

upset that,” he said.

Initially, he said, the transportation department

proposed a plan to construct concrete culverts and concrete curbs over the

crossing, but scrubbed those improvements in favor of what the residents wanted

to see in the way of a ford crossing.

“We wanted to exercise sensitivity to

the neighborhood and come up with a design that is less obtrusive,” Kyono

said.

The elevated culvert would decrease the labor spent by the DOT to

clear debris following a storm.

The proposal includes the installation

of two arch-pipe culverts, construction of cement masonry inlet and outlet

structures, backfilling and a concrete slab over the stream that would be at

the same level of the roadway.

With shoulders added on, the roadway width

will be increased to 43 feet, the DOT said. The current roadway is 18

feet.

The elevated stream crossing will help protect the environment as

well, the DOT said.

The structure will reduce the amount of pollution

vehicles discharge into the stream. Currently vehicles discharge some oil and

gas when they cross the stream.

The DOT estimates the cost of the project

at about $350,000.

It is currently soliciting public comments on a draft

environmental assessment.

Once a contractor is selected through the bid

process, work could start as early as next summer, Kyono said.

Before work

can begin, approval is needed from the state Department of Health, U.S. Army

Corps of Engineers, State Department of Land and Natural Resources , state

Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism and the Kaua’i Planning

Department.

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