Hanalei business owners need you.
Specifically, they need you to shop in their magical North Shore town.
And we encourage you to go there.
Allow us to explain.
It’s been a tough go of things as of late in this island’s most famous place to visit. We all know Kuhio Highway beyond Hanalei has been closed to the general public since the flooding in 2018 damaged much of it. Black Pot Beach Park, also damaged in that flood, remains closed. And last month, a section of Kuhio Highway on the hill between the Hanalei Bridge and Princeville was reduced to one lane due to a landslide requiring slope stabilization by the state.
That combination has reduced the number of visitors and locals venturing to Hanalei. Shops and restaurants saw shrinking sales. There was even concern some might not survive. That’s unfortunate, and we hope their fortune changes soon.
You can be part of the solution and, really, you’ll have a good time along the way.
Black Pot Beach Park is expected to reopen by month’s end.
Kuhio Highway beyond Hanalei is scheduled to open June 17.
When that happens, we expect to see big crowds once again filling Hanalei’s shops and restaurants. And, frankly, you don’t have to wait for the park and highway to reopen. Go now and we’re confident you’ll have the best of times.
OK, but what about the slope-stabilization work? Isn’t that projected to continue for several more months? And won’t having traffic restricted to one lane, even for a short stretch, cause lengthy traffic backups in both directions?
Well, the hill work is projected to continue for several months. But no, the one-lane restriction by the bridge doesn’t mean you will be stuck in traffic for an hour coming and going. It could, mind you. Early on in the process, some did call TGI with complaints about traffic backing up to Hanalei on one side and backing up to Princeville on the other. But the traffic flow is smoother now. We’re not saying there won’t be any delays. We’re just saying based on the experiences of TGI staffers, you should experience mostly trouble-free driving to and from Hanalei.
One TGI reporter said it recently took about 10 minutes to get through the work zone. Another reported it took about 5 minutes. And recently, another staffer said coming and going on a Friday, the slowdown was less than 30 seconds — pretty much just reduced speed, stopped briefly, and continued on. That’s certainly nothing that should deter anyone from going there, nothing that would warrant avoiding the area.
Our North Shore business owners have faced challenges unlike any other. They have taken more than a few blows to their pocketbooks. Some are certainly hurting. Yet they have persevered. They have stayed the course. We have not heard of one business owner throwing his or her hands up in exasperation and saying, “No more.”
These folks have displayed remarkable determination and resilience and, frankly, they deserve our support.
So, if you have reason, even if you don’t have reason, take a ride to Hanalei. Check out the many wonderful shops. Have lunch or dinner in one of the many restaurants, including the legendary Tahiti Nui, which has proven time and time again why it is a leader in this community. Stop by the Ching Young Village Shopping Center. Grab a bite or a beer at Kalypso Bar and Grill. Rent a kayak and explore the Hanalei River. Or shop at Big Save Market, drive to Pine Trees and enjoy a day at the beach.
All of this is just a short drive away. Your ohana in Hanalei awaits.