FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Malama Makaha Purposes Win-Win Solution
Makaha Valley, Hawaii – April 22, 2013 – Malama Makaha submits plan to Governor Abercrombie that would eliminate the by-pass road requirement for the Makaha Bridge Replacement Project.
The proposal calls for pre-fabricated steel bridges above the existing wooden bridges to be built one lane at a time to prevent any road closure and traffic stoppage. The pre-fabricated bridges would alleviate safety concerns about the wooden bridges now in place and enable the current Farrington Highway route to remain in service while the State and City and County coordinate a much needed rerouting of Farrington Highway around the mauka side of Makaha Beach Park.
John Shockley of the Free Access Coalition said, “This is a realistic money-saving proposal. The makai side by-pass road will not be needed. The two Farrington Highway bridges can remain in service indefinitely while Farrington Highway is rerouted.”
Richard “Buffalo” Keaulana, a respected community leader at Makaha said, “The temporary bridge idea sounds good, but the best thing that could happen is to reroute the highway off the beach, back mauka. Then, they wouldn’t need a temporary bypass road at all.”
Malama Makaha member Bunky Bakutis stressed, “This idea should remove the excuses being used to railroad through the current project. Leeward residents have been waiting 15 years to reroute Farrington Highway. If we simply replace the current wooden bridges where there they stand, it will place our community at risk for another 50-100 years,” Bakutis said. “The safety of the people who use the beach should come first. Crossing Farrington Highway to reach the bathrooms is dangerous! It’s time to take the highway off Makaha Beach.”
Asked what the down sides were to this proposal, Malama Makaha leader, AL Frenzel said, “I don’t see any downsides. Under this plan, there will be considerable environmental and cost savings by not having to build the by-pass route. Frenzel is worried that the proposed by-pass road may be washed into the ocean by a winter storm during the permanent bridge construction. “Not only would this cut off residents on the Kaena side of Makaha Beach, but it would be devastating to see all the road and bridge debris washed out into the bay.”
Another concern is that drivers might complain about having to slow down to cross these temporary steel bridges. Makaha resident, Analia Barbosa, cited “It’s good that drivers will have to slow down to cross the bridges, we’ve already had too many people killed and injured by speeders in this area.” Just over a year ago, a drunk driver slammed into a mother and her six children at the nearby bus stop.
Keaulana, who has lived and worked at Makaha Beach his entire life is worried that the highway bridges could be affected because of past beach destruction. “They have to understand the meaning of ‘Makaha’, where the rain water gathers before it breaks out to the ocean. Before someone messed up the sand by pushing it back toward the bridges, there used to be a big hole (or basin) after the bridges so the water wouldn’t rush out.” He added, “So whatever is done with the bridges, now, the sand needs to be pushed makai from the bridges to make the hole how it used to be when I lived here some 50 years ago.”
The Malama Makaha group is requesting a meeting with Governor Neil Abercrombie to get his support for moving Farrington Highway inland of the Makaha Beach Park as the 1997 Beach Master Plan calls for.
“I would love to talk to the Governor about this.” Keaulana said. “It’s all common sense.”