County begins Alii Drive sinkhole repair work

  • Work got underway Monday to repair damage to Alii Drive caused by a sinkhole that opened late last year fronting Coconut Grove Marketplace. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • Work got underway Monday to repair damage to Alii Drive caused by a sinkhole that opened late last year fronting Coconut Grove Marketplace. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • Motorists are advised to expect delays in the Kailua Village area for the next three to four weeks as crews work to repair damage to Alii Drive caused by a sinkhole that opened late last year fronting Coconut Grove Marketplace. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • Isemoto Contracting Ltd. crews begin work Monday to repair the damage to Alii Drive caused by erosion that has undermined the seawall exposed to Oneo Bay. The project is anticipated to last up to a month. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

Work is underway to repair damage to Alii Drive caused by a sinkhole that opened late last year fronting Coconut Grove Marketplace.

Motorists are advised to expect delays in the Kailua Village area as Isemoto Contracting Ltd. crews work to repair the damage caused by erosion that has undermined the seawall exposed to Oneo Bay. The project is anticipated to last up to a month.

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During work, which is slated 7 a.m. to sunset through Friday, traffic on Alii Drive will be reduced to one lane between Hualalai and Walua roads, the Hawaii County Department of Public Works announced Monday morning. The road will be two lanes during the evening hours.

Crews may also work on Saturdays to ensure the repairs are completed as expeditiously as possible, the county said.

“Depending on construction conditions, it’s possible that the road may be completely closed if the road becomes unstable during excavation work,” a media release reads. “Roadwork is anticipated to take three to four weeks, weather and construction conditions permitting.”

Denise Laitinen, Public Works spokeswoman, said the work is being performed under an emergency contract. The project entails repairing road damage caused by erosion, as well as stabilizing the area surrounding the sinkhole to prevent future erosion.

“As for cost estimate, it is difficult to provide at this time because crews are unsure of conditions they may encounter as the work proceeds,” she said.

The makai shoulder of the road, which has been closed to pedestrians since the sinkhole appeared Dec. 24, 2019, will remain closed while repairs are performed.

Motorists are advised to drive with caution in the work zone. Signs will be posted advising motorists of the roadwork and traffic control personnel will be posted in the area to facilitate traffic movement.

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Erosion of the seawall fronting Coconut Grove Marketplace is an issue that has cropped up in the same spot for years, including in 2015 and spring 2019, and is the result of years of ocean crashing against the wall and circling in the area.

County officials have been aware of the undermining of the seawall at Oneo Bay for over a decade. The project has been on the books since at least 2001, with the capital improvement budget showing federal and county funds allocated for the project over the years. It was also part of a 2009 draft environmental assessment for improvements to Alii Drive between Hualalai and Walua roads.

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