Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022 |
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HANALEI — Michael Fox just dropped a few bills on a new set of wheels. His 2015 Honda Fit is perfect for hauling his musical instruments. He’s partial to the blue jewel tone of the body, and said he is stoked on the gas mileage.
The Kapahi man said he decided to take a chance when he drove it to Black Pot Beach at the Hanalei Pier on Friday morning.
“I drove in here and I was like, ‘Whoa, someone needs to do something about these potholes,’” Fox said. “I just bought this thing and I’m going to ruin it already.”
Fox was looking to disappear along Hanalei Bay Friday afternoon and get a bit of exercise, but he joked that it was his car that almost pulled the vanishing act.
“But seriously, I have to rent a truck or a Jeep or something if I want to go out to Polihale,” Fox said. “There’s no way I would make it in this thing.”
Polihale is the state’s jurisdiction, but Kauai County spokeswoman Mary Daubert said relief for the Hanalei parking lot is coming shortly.
“The county has a lot of roads and parking lots to maintain and the repair work of the potholes at Black Pot Beach Park is just one on the list of county projects,” Daubert said. “A public works crew has been assigned to this project, and weather permitting, the plan is for the crew to tackle it in the next week or so.”
The dirt road that leads to Black Pot is evenly pocked with craters, and some of the potholes seem to surpass the word’s definition. Several beachgoers referred to them as ditches.
The short stretch of dirt road has been in rough shape — some say the worst in a long time — since early December. There are big potholes and little potholes. It’s pretty much impossible to avoid them all, but drivers try, zagging here and zigging there, slowly inching along toward a hoped-for parking place.
Those with trucks don’t sweat it, though some were still pulling creative driving maneuvers to avoid the potholes on Friday.
But those driving four-door sedans cringed at the road leading to the popular beach. Some turned back or tried to find parking elsewhere.
“It was pretty bumpy driving in here,” said Gerrit Lohmueller.
Lohmueller, who is visiting from Germany and was getting ready for a kayak trip, said he’s noticed the Westside is punctuated with potholes as well.
Fox and Lohmueller both said they dusted off their precision driving skills for their trek to the Hanalei beach.
“I don’t have a good car for off-roading, so we have to try and go around the potholes,” Lohmueller said. “There’s no way you can avoid all of them, though.”
Fox said if the road isn’t fixed soon, he might have to drop a few more bills on yet another set of wheels.
“If it doesn’t get better, I’ve thought about maybe having to buy an island truck or something for things like this, like going out to the beach,” Fox said. “It’s not good for the locals and it can’t be good for the tourist industry.”
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