Road to Polihale closed for repairs

LIHUE — The road to Polihale State Park will remain closed until at least Wednesday while crews work to clear debris from the roadway and repair the first bridge, according to the State Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Parks Program Manager Steve Thompson said the process will take time.

“They are still clearing tons — literally tons — of sediment,” he said.

Thompson said that water from heavy rains brought by the passage of Tropical Depression Kilo used the road like a riverbed, and that it will take several more days to remove the silt.

“The first two days after the rains, the sediment was so wet we couldn’t really move it,” Thompson said.

So far, crews have removed rocks and boulders, begun grading the road surface, and repaired the steel railing on the bridge. Delivery of crushed rock for the roadway is pending.

“Our goal, if we don’t discover more damage, is to have it open by the Labor Day Weekend, but that is not a guarantee,” Thompson said.

He added that the closure may need to be extended depending on several factors, the biggest being the weather.

“If it rains, it is going to slow everything down,” Thompson said, noting that there are two hurricanes currently heading toward Kauai. “The culverts are so full now. If the culverts don’t get cleared and more rain comes, it won’t have a place to go,” which could result in flood water again flowing over the roadway, undoing the repair work that has already been done.

One of the biggest remaining tasks is to clear mud and debris from beneath the first bridge in order to inspect the underside for damage.

Crews also need to replace a collapsed drainage culvert.

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