During the January 8 meeting of the Waianae Neighborhood Board, concerns were voiced about the temporary access road, approved by the City and State, which will be used to bypass the forthcoming construction work on the Makaha Bridges Project. Board member Frenzel, head of the Permitted Interaction Group (PIG), presented a report on the disadvantages of this access road. Frenzel pointed out that despite the fact the community had supported this road be built on the makai (ocean side) of Farrington Highway in the past, it is now determined that the road can lead to other problems. The road has a life expectancy of five years after which it can deteriorate and pollute the beach and ocean when the waters surge or flood the area. He also noted that the road would encroach on and destroy the beachfront, and it would take up much needed parking space. Moreover, he pointed out the precarious location of the beach bathrooms which are presently located across the highway, on the mauka (mountainside) side of the highway. He proposed that the access road be built on the mauka side of Farrington Highway to allow safe access to the restrooms and to prevent encroachment on the beachfront. Finally, Frenzel suggested that an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) be made prior to the construction of the access road. Frenzel then introduced and the board unanimously adopted a resolution asking the governor to direct the Department of Transportation to redesign the project to meet these concerns.
The next meeting of the Waianae Neighborhood Board is scheduled for February 5, 2013, 7:00-10:00 P.M., at the Waianae District Park Multi-Purpose Room, 85-601 Farrington Highway. New business for discussion will be a presentation on the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC) by William Aila, Jr., director of DLNR and a member of PLDC. Also for new business will be the Ko`Olina Triathlon presentation by J.J. Johnson.
I’d like to make a couple clarifications in case I was misunderstood during the meeting. The temporary bypass route to be place on the makai side of Farrington Highway was never supported by the community. This route was chosen and recently announced by the State DOT. The temporary route will only be in place for approximately 18 months, but since it is being built to only a 5-year flood standard there is a possibility of it being damaged or destroyed by either a greater than 5-year flood or by a Tsunami, Hurricane or other ocean condition resulting in high ocean surge. Since the temporary road with its temporary bridges will be on the makai side of Farrington Highway and since it does encroach on portions of the beach area (required a setback variance permit), the chances for ecological damage to Makaha Beach are high.
The community prefers the replacement bridges and route of Farrington highway go on the mauka side of Makaha Beach Park in accordance with a 1989 Makaha Beach Park Master Plan. If the bridges replacement project proceeds as planned and the current wooden bridges are replaced in their present location then the mauka route will not be built within the next 100 years and the combining of Makaha Beach and the Beach Park into one, as envisioned by the community in the Makaha Beach Park Master Plan will not occur. If the State DOT would implement their alternative number 4 (the mauka route), the combining of the beach and beach park in accordance with the master plan could be realized. Moreover, there would not be a need for a temporary by pass road during construction, because the current route would still be available, a savings of several million dollars and avoidance of potential ecological disaster for Makaha Beach.