WAILUA — Earlier this week, Loop Road reopened after three years since its initial closure and damage from the April 2018 floods.
Total repair costs were about $725,000, according to Mapuana O’Sullivan from the Department of Land and Natural Resources’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife.
Included in this price tag is the replacement of one culvert crossing, 2 miles of road reconstruction, debris removal and temporary repairs to the second river crossing, O’Sullivan said Wednesday.
“Contractors were procured and began work in late 2019. But due to damage to Keahua Bridge (the only access route) and further road damage, the project was unable to continue until late 2020,” O’Sullivan said. “All previous work had to be redone.”
Wailua Forest Management Road, known as Loop Road, faced damage from landslides and back in April 2018 and was able to garner Act 12 emergency money for repair. However, subsequent downpours, vandalism and other damage hampered repairs.
“Due to continued heavy rain events, the project had delays because of the weather,” O’Sullivan said. The contract was able to be extended because it was emergency funds and contractors were procured under the Governor’s proclamation.”
Loop Road provides access into the Lihu‘e-Koloa Forest Reserve, Keahua Arboretum and out to Jurassic Gate trail and Blue Hole, and while the road is open, the department advised that only vehicles with four-wheel drive and high clearance access the road.
DOFAW is working on getting permitting and design plans for the construction of a new low water ford crossing at the second river crossing.
The North Fork Wailua River low-water crossing may be unpassable in dry conditions, DLNR warned in a press release Monday, and the department may close access to the area on and off when conditions become dangerous.