Kahului Bay Shoreline “Eroding at 2 Inches Annually”

January 27, 2014, 9:19 AM HST · Updated January 27, 12:27 PM
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File photo by Wendy Osher. Kahului Harbor.

File photo by Wendy Osher. Kahului Harbor.

By Wendy Osher

The state is proposing a shoreline stabilization project to prevent further erosion from adversely affecting the structural integrity of Kahului Beach Road in Central Maui.

The project is proposed by the Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation, Highways Division and the Federal Highway Administration.

Officials contend that “motorists and pedestrians would be safer as storm waves and surges would be abated at the shoreline,” according to information published in a Draft Environmental Assessment for the project.

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The document states that the project is also aimed at improving the “functionality and lifespan” of the road.

According to the document, “two large breakwaters protect the harbor; however, during intense winter storms, high-energy waves cause a wave surge which attacks the breakwaters and shoreline.”

The harbor was reportedly constructed by the Kahului Railroad Company in 1900, with a west breakwater constructed by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1919, and extended it further in 1931.

“Historical aerial photo analysis shows that the shoreline has been receding at an average rate of 2 inches per year since 1899,” the DEA states. “The eroding beach road embankment is a hazard and will eventually erode the road shoulder completely and adversely affect the stability and safety of the road.”

The project area reportedly extends an estimated 1,730 feet from Kaiheʻe Place to a large rock revetment supporting the base of the west harbor jetty.

According to the project’s DEA, the proposed project is consistent with Maui County General Plan 2030.

Public comment on the document are due by Feb. 24, 2014.

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