Roth: County Looking at Updating Waipiʻo Valley Road Closure, But Status Quo Until Then
Waipiʻo Valley access road will remain closed under the mayor’s Waipiʻo Valley Road Emergency Rule No. 1 until further notice, the mayor’s office stated.
Mayor Mitch Roth issued the proclamation Feb. 25, citing safety reasons for all who travel the narrow, crumbling road. It will be closed likely until the county fixes it. It is open during the closure only to residents of the valley or people who have legitimate agricultural business in the valley considered sacred by many. The county has been sued over its decision.
The county engaged in mediation with retired Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza in August, the mayor’s office stated in the Friday, Sept. 2 news release. Since then, the county has been working on a possible update to the current proclamation and rules. Any modification of the current rules requires coordination with multiple county departments and mobilization of additional county personnel and resources.
Any modification to the rules does not change the fact that Waipi’o Valley Road presents significant safety concerns over rockfalls, landslides, and slope failure. Discussion over modification to the rules has involved attempts to balance public interest to use the road while still maintaining the safety of those who do so, according to the news release.
“The county has an obligation to protect the health and safety of our community, and through that, we want to be extremely careful about how we proceed with any updated rules,” Roth said in the news release. “Unfortunately, there is misinformation being circulated right now about what will be allowed and what won’t, and we want to make sure that the community knows we are still working through the specifics. Our team is actively engaged in working on amended rules that accommodate the desire of more community members to use the road while maintaining reasonable safety precautions.”
The county plans to continue the discussion over the coming week and will be forthcoming with any changes to the current rules in a timely manner, the office stated. Until then, the community is asked to observe the current emergency rules.