Barriers, electric signs warn motorists of East Maui road closure following rockfall
County of Maui crews set up concrete barriers today to prevent traffic along a nearly 1-mile Hāna Highway road closure in Kīpahulu where unstable cliffs pose a safety hazard.
County officials have advised that the closure between Alelele Bridge and Lelekea Bridge in East Maui could last up to a month while emergency stabilizing work is done.
Motorists can still drive from the Kahului Airport in Central Maui to Hāna-Maui Resort in East Maui via the Hāna Highway. The closure impacts travel in the Kīpahulu area beyond Hāna town, preventing motorists from traveling around the “back side” that connects East Maui and South Maui.
The closure comes after a rockfall incident reported on April 27. Then, on May 4, a vehicle was heavily damaged from rocks and mud that fell from the cilffside. County officials say the driver was uninjured, but the incident triggered an assessment of safety conditions. An engineering assessment Wednesday deemed the cliffside unsafe.
Four county electronic road signs to alert motorists about the closure have been stationed in Hāʻiku, Kula, Kanaio and Hāna. However, drivers may still reach the Kīpahulu District of Haleakalā National Park from East Maui. They cannot access the park if they are traveling from the Kaupō direction.
Work to stabilize the cliffside will take weeks, according to a new update issued by county officials. It is expected to take two weeks to secure a contractor within the state due to the scope of the project and the personnel the work will require. Once the work begins, rock scaling – the removal of loose or potentially unstable rocks on slopes – will occur over approximately two weeks.
Hāna Highway between Alelele Bridge and Lelekea Bridge will reopen once the area is deemed safe for motorists.