Saving ‘Opaeka‘a and Pu‘u‘opae bridges

Historian Pat Griffin will discuss saving ‘Opaeka‘a and Pu‘u‘opae bridges at the Wailua-Kapa‘a Neighborhood Association’s meeting at 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Kapa‘a Library meeting room.

The one-lane bridges dating back to 1915, are reaching their life-span. In April, the County Council voted to accept federal funds to plan for their replacement. Early communication with all the stakeholders in an open and continuous dialog will assist transportation officials to clearly define the scope of reconstruction before proceeding.

Griffin researched the history of these two bridges in Wailua Homesteads and secured designation of the Pu‘u‘opae Bridge on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. ‘Opaeka‘a Bridge, which still has its trusses, was registered in 1983. According to the world renowned bridge designer Aba Lichtenstein, it is “perhaps the most important bridge in the state of Hawai‘i.”

Griffin will discuss the importance of developing designs that are compatible with the surrounding environment and that can accommodate emergency vehicles and school busses without compromising the historic integrity of these bridges.

Preserving these one-lane bridges may help maintain the rural lifestyle of the area, add lasting value to the community and promote safety since narrower roads require slower traffic speeds.

Join the dialog. The talk is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Sid Jackson, W-KNA secretary at 821-2837.

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