County crews work to save Kapa’a seawall

Kaua’i County work crews have been piling sand behind parts of a seawall on the beach fronting the Pono Kai Resort in Kapa’a to prevent sections of the seawall from falling into the ocean.

The seawall, estimated to be several hundred feet in length, protects a sidewalk and grassy areas above parts of the beach in front of the condominium project.

The Pono Kai is among a handful of beach-front resort projects located in East Kaua’i.

Hurricane ‘Iniki in 1992 generated large waves that gouged the shoreline and created massive erosion, prompting the building of the seawall.

The latest work is part of a maintenance program county Department of Public Works crew members instituted to protect the structure, according to county DPW Deputy Engineer Ladye Martin.

Sand or gravel has been poured into the puka (holes) between the grassy area and the seawall, to fill sinkholes the size of garbage cans and larger, she said.

The structure spans about several hundred feet in front of the condominium project.

A Kapa’a resident who is known to The Garden Island but asked to remain anonymous, said the latest work has been done on the center section of the wall.

That part of the wall, he said, has been sagging, and the bottom part of the structure has been “sliding toward the ocean.”

The northern end of the structure has already fallen away, although the southern section of the wall remains intact, he said.

County workers used trucks to bring sand to the area, and used back hoes to help put the material in the puka behind the damaged parts of the seawall.

The wall has become weakened from waves pouring through the seams of the wall and pulling the sand out to the ocean, according to Martin.

The seawall is located makai of a county right-of-way, and county leaders would need approval from officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to make permanent repairs to the seawall, because the structure is located on state-man-aged lands.

Leaders of that agency have control of areas that are up to the high-water mark on the beach.

Martin said leaders with the Pono Kai Resort talked with county DPW officials earlier this year about the forming puka behind the seawall, and have asked for help from county officials.

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