‘Īao Valley State Monument to Re-Open Nov. 22, Ahead of Schedule
ʻĪao Valley State Monument will reopen on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017, following completion of a second phase of slope stabilization to the stream areas in the park that were damaged by a massive flood event in September 2016. The park was originally expected to reopen by Dec. 16, 2017.
DLNR Division of State Parks officials will be assessing how the work that has been completed holds up during the upcoming rainy season, and will be seeking additional funds to complete additional required repairs at the park. Public safety, the preservation of the park, and the surrounding natural resources are of the upmost importance.
State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell said, “We must express sincere appreciation to our Maui State Parks Superintendent Larry Pacheco, our team at the DLNR Engineering Division and the onsite contractors for not only managing and executing quality work in the mitigation, but also in implementing additional park improvements and maintenance during the closure. This project was also accomplished ahead of schedule — virtually unheard of in State construction projects — even with a temporary setback due to high stream volume during part of the mitigation work.”
“As always, DSP appreciates the patience and understanding of the Maui community and the visitor industry during the park’s closures. These improvements and repairs were critically necessary to stabilize the streamside slope to protect the parking area and vehicular access for park users,” Cottrell added.
ʻĪao Valley State Monument is among the top attractions on Maui and sees hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The flash flood in 2016 caused millions of dollars of damage to manmade structures like railings and pedestrian bridges and created serious erosion, stream channel and land movement. State Parks obtained emergency restoration funding and began clean-up and restoration operations within weeks of the flood.
Contractor Vares Contracting began work on February 13, 2017 to remove green waste, concrete debris and railings. Maui Kupono Builders, LLC did interim slope stabilization in the Wailuku River (ʻĪao Stream) to the slopes of the now wider river, which now sport a revetment of stacked rocks and 300-400 feet worth of Shotcrete slope coating to prevent loose material from falling down. Total project cost is $1,837,341.
Changes to the parking lot included restriping and installation of flexible traffic delineators, as well as installation of a green security guardrail fencing at various locations to keep buses only within the upper parking area, and warning signs to prevent people from getting close to the stream’s edge. This work was performed by Vares Contracting.
A pedestrian corridor was marked with striping, and surface repairs were made to the pathways leading to the Hawaiian Garden and to the summit lookout. The park comfort station and upper lookout hale have been painted.
Maui Kupono Builders, LLC also did repairs to the iconic pedestrian bridge over Kinihapai Stream, which received a new support structure.
Further work still needed
Still closed is the lower large loop trail that previously ran along the streamside, which sustained severe damage during the flood. Although it was cleaned up, it will remain fenced off and closed for public safety. State Parks is considering options for ways to make it safe for the public to enjoy.
The Hawaiian Garden also sustained damages which caused a section of its walkway to have collapsed beyond repair. New security fencing has been installed to keep people away from the cliff’s edge.
The park was re-opened in August and September during a hiatus between construction activity, pending permit approval for the next stage of work.