Erosion undermines Alii Drive in Kailua Village

  • Erosion undermines Alii Drive across from Coconut Grove forcing the county to install a steel plate over the gaping hole. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Erosion undermines Alii Drive across from Coconut Grove, forcing the county to install a steel plate over the gaping hole. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Erosion undermines Alii Drive across from Coconut Grove forcing the county to install a steel plate over the gaping hole. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Erosion undermines Alii Drive across from Coconut Grove, forcing the county to install a steel plate over the gaping hole. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — County crews are working to address erosion issues on Alii Drive across from Bongo Ben’s Island Cafe in Kailua Village.

On Tuesday, the Hawaii County Department of Public Works placed a steel plate over eroding asphalt on the makai shoulder of the roadway. Just on the other side of the seawall, a cavern several feet in diameter has been exposed to the edge of Oneo Bay.

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“It’s like a washing machine right there,” said Highway Division Chief Neil Azevedo. “It hits and circles.”

Azevedo said the erosion has been an issue in that area for about four or five years. Crews have patched it up at least once, where they back-filled it with rocks and fixed the wall fronting Alii Drive.

“We put the steel plate there for caution. We’ll get a temporary fix but we need a permanent fix,” Azevedo said.

Azevedo said he’s waiting to speak with the Public Works director and deputy director to talk about how to address the current issue.

On Wednesday, Barett Otani, executive assistant to the Office of the Mayor, said Public Works officials are assessing the situation for a permanent solution.

“After an assessment is done, a price and timeframe can be formulated,” Otani stated. “A temporary fix involving the steel plate will be applied that will provide a safe travel lane for the public.”

He added the Highway Division is monitoring the site daily for public safety.

Aside from the steel plate, construction signs and A-frame barricades, those who work in Kailua Village say the traffic in that area can be cumbersome.

Keisha Colon works at the Body Glove kiosk across from Huggo’s on the Rocks.

“Traffic is awkward because of the shape in the road in general,” she said Wednesday morning.

The area also has a heavy concentration of pedestrians.

“You see a lot of situations of sudden stops or close accidents,” Colon said.

Colon wasn’t aware of the erosion issues but wasn’t surprised. She also wasn’t optimistic that a permanent solution was in sight.

“Nothing’s probably going to get done about it until it falls into the ocean,” she said of the sidewalk.

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Logan Post, employee at Huggo’s on the Rocks, said as a skater, the steel plate is kind of irritating. He blames the erosion problem on the construction of the seawall.

“I don’t like the whole seawall in general,” he said. “It used to be a beach. It probably looked a lot better back in the day.”

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