News

Virtual Meeting on Waipiʻo Valley Road Closure Set For March 9

By Tom Hasslinger
March 1, 2022, 11:52 AM HST
* Updated March 1, 11:58 AM
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Pedestrians stand off to the side of Waipi’o Valley Access Road to let a car pass last year. PC: Tom Hasslinger/Big Island Now

Hawaiʻi County will be hosting a virtual public meeting on Wednesday, March 9 to discuss the current Waipiʻo Valley Access Road closure. The meeting will be held on Zoom between 5:30-7 p.m. All residents are invited to attend.

The closure is due to the Mayor’s Traffic Emergency Zone Declaration and Mayor’s Waipiʻo Valley Road Emergency Rule No. 1, signed on Feb 25.

A geotechnical study contracted by the county and recently released to the public found that the road presents hazards from rockfalls, shows serious slope instability due to steepness and is prone to future rockslides, rockfalls or slope failure when exposed to water, wind and erosion.

Those hazards prompted the road closure. No pedestrian traffic is allowed, and the road is only open for valley residents to drive or other persons who have agricultural or business matters in the valley.

Residents of the valley had been complaining for years that the road was too dangerous for pedestrian traffic and non-resident traffic.

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The entire geotechnical report can be viewed here.

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Roth and others said last week during the meeting where the closure was announced that they want community feedback as they finetune additional details on how the closure will work during the coming months. Officials said the plan is to fix immediate areas on the road that need attention over the next four to six months, then prepare the entire roadway project so that it is ready to go out to bid. A timetable on how long that could take wasn’t nailed down as of last week.

In attendance at the March 9 virtual meeting will be representatives from the county’s Department of Public Works, Corporation Counsel, the Office of the Mayor, and the Office of Councilmember Heather Kimball. Additional organizations may also be in attendance.

To join the meeting via smartphone, tablet, or pc, we ask that residents use this link. For residents planning to call in, dial 1-669-254-5252 and enter meeting ID 1608522761#. The passcode is 146034.

Tom Hasslinger
Tom Hasslinger is a journalist who lives in Kailua-Kona. Prior to joining Big Island Now, he worked as the managing editor for West Hawaii Today and deputy editor for The Garden Island newspaper on Kauai. He's worked for over 15 years as a reporter for the Oahu-based Civil Beat news outlet, as well as in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and Douglas Wyoming.
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