Milowai Ma’alaea Seawall in “Progressive State of Failure”

May 2, 2013, 4:37 PM HST · Updated May 3, 2:56 PM
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Maalaea surf

Ma’alaea. File photo: Carlos Rock

By Wendy Osher

An Environmental Assessment has been filed for the repair of an existing seawall at the Milowai Ma’alaea Residential Condominium, located at 50 Hauʻoli Street on Maui.

A Special Management Area Permit and a Shoreline Setback Variance are being sought as part of of the Environmental Assessment.

According to the document, the existing building will not be expanded or modified as a result of the project.

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According to the EA, the 180-foot seawall is located at the rear of the property and rises to an approximate height of 4- to 6-feet above the shoreline, with the west end of the wall terminating into the break wall of Ma’alaea Small Boat Harbor, and the east end continuing into a neighboring wall.

The EA document includes estimated that the existing wall was built in the early 1950s.

In justifying the request, the applicant states that the western portion of the wall is cracking as a result of settlement. There is also a crack in the top of the wall, and a fissure, or hole, in the soil between the back of the seawall and the soil beneath the adjacent lawn.

According to the EA, the fissure had increased by the June of 2012 to as much as 5-feet in several locations, after being measured at only 18-inches wide and 3- to 6-inches deep six months earlier.

“The observed continued deterioration of this section of wall over the period of 1 year indicates that it is in a state of progressive failure. With continued loss of support below the wall due to erosion as well as loss of soil from behind the wall, it is imminent that collapse will happen at some time,” according to the Environmental Assessment.

The request for repair includes work on the entire 180-foot wall.

In the portion of the EA that addresses potential impacts and mitigating measures, the document states, “the proposed seawall repair work will not have an impact upon recreational facilities or the popular surf spot, Freight Trains.”

According to the EA, the proposed repair project is expected to take an estimated 90 days to construct at a cost of approximately $400,000.

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