County talks beach repair

  • File photo courtesy County of Kauai

    Workers pull a pickup out of the sand at Black Pot Beach Park in Hanalei after the historic floods in mid-April.

LIHUE — April’s historic flooding brought in about 70,000 cubic yards of sand to Hanalei Bay, according to a study from the University of Hawaii. That damaged Weke Road, destroyed the comfort station at Black Pot Beach and left erosion up to 12 feet deep in some areas.

Since the disaster, the county has been chasing funds to repair these damages, but it’s been a challenge, said Doug Haigh, head of the county Department of Public Works Building Division.

“First we had a pocket of county funds, then we had state funds and finally we have gotten the FEMA declaration and we have FEMA funds for these projects,” he told the County Council’s Public Works, Parks and Recreation Committee meeting on Thursday.

Haigh told the council it would cost over $200 per cubic yard to truck in crushed coral, the appropriate fill for the area. So instead, they’re looking into getting a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge in sand.

The Army Corps of Engineers is prioritizing the permit and is hoping to have it finalized this week.

“For the eroded areas, we’re looking at about 10,000 cubic yards of material; we think it’s readily available,” Haigh said.

The county is looking for firms experienced in sand dredging and have found three. Haigh hopes the bids will go out this week.

As far as reconstruction of Weke Road, the county is looking at mitigation measures to minimize the impact if there’s a similar storm event in the future.

“It’s really hard, because nobody knows what is the risk of such a storm event occurring again,” Haigh said.

“The flood, the river, was at a 70-year flood. The valley and the rain was over a 500-year flood and if you look at the videos of what occurred, it wasn’t the river jumping the bank, it was the valley filling with water and the water finding the low point in Hanalei, which happened to be by our park, and it just started eroding away our soil, probably from the ocean side back.”

Haigh said the county is looking at a special retaining wall system that uses geo-fabric and compaction methodology, and a concrete road instead of an asphalt road that will give good resistance to erosion.

“Hopefully that will help protect our parklands,” he said.

The county is working on a proposal on construction of the comfort station, which qualifies for FEMA as well as insurance funds.

Reconstruction of the comfort station is estimated to cost about $1 million. It will be placed on the highest point in the park, Haigh said.


Bethany Freudenthal, courts, crime and county reporter, can be reached at 652-7891 or

  1. Marv Walker July 9, 2018 5:57 am Reply

    Speaking of dredging sand…is there any thought of dredging out the sand and silt that washed out under the pier? The beach along there and underneath the pier is way out of proportion compared to what it normally is. Is this even possible to dredge the sand away from there or is the answer to let nature take its course and do it over time?

  2. Charlie Chimknee July 9, 2018 7:54 am Reply

    $1 Million for 2 public bathrooms…? You must be kidding, they don’t have to look like Billionaires’ homes you know…just clean…!
    Call Lenny…! Don’t call Trump Construction…

  3. Joe July 9, 2018 8:56 am Reply

    Don’t “fix” it to what it was before the flood. Make people walk down there. Mr. Haigh, sorry but you are wrong about this being a 70-year or 500 year flood. The water table is higher.

  4. I saw a Vampire once July 9, 2018 8:59 am Reply

    Because some of your community people or county council member at present are this type. “couldn’t you make it something like this. It would have an arm and transform from a building.” Are you paying them for this analysis? boo…

  5. Robert Rosen July 9, 2018 9:14 am Reply

    Wow, a $1 million dollar toilet block. I guess everything on weke road is pricey! Is there anyone with common sense who treats the money like it’s coming from people who can make better use of it than spending 1million on something that should cost a tenth of that?

  6. Suzan Kelsey Brooks July 10, 2018 6:21 am Reply

    Is it possible to hire a contractor who is sufficiently familiar with dredging to avoid breaking through to silt and fouling the water? Think of what happened at Morgan’s Ponds. Consider the effects of what appeared to be dredging of the mouth of the Wailua late last January. Does anyone take core samples or other precautions?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.