Emergency slope scaling and rock debris removal started Sunday, June 11, at the rural Alelele Point area where less than a mile of county roadway was closed May 10 because increased rockfall made passage unsafe.
About 150 cubic yards of rock and soil debris was removed in the first three days by County of Maui contractor Prometheus Construction Inc.
Contractor crew members are rappelling along the slope, which extends nearly 300 feet high, to remove debris of silt-sand, gravel and boulders that are as large as four feet in diameter.
Large machinery is being used to assist with scaling and general rock removal. Temporary netting and other barriers are being used to protect the roadway and telephone poles with phone service lines.
The rural county roadway connects the remote communities of Kīpahulu and Kaupō. The closed portion is between Mile Markers 38 and 39.
Drivers may still access Kīpahulu Visitor Center and other portions of Haleakalā National Park Kīpahulu District, along with Kīpahulu small businesses, in East Maui. Retail and restaurant businesses remain accessible through Kanaio, where roadside Bully’s Burgers is operating, to Kaupo.
The Alelele Point emergency project costs $1.5 million, and Prometheus Construction Inc. was selected as contractor after a county request for proposals. Work involves slope scaling, the removal of loose or potentially unstable rocks on the cliffside by manual, mechanical or other non-explosive methods.
Crew members are working seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Approximately 1,500 tons of rock debris must be removed over about 5 acres.
Slope scaling activity is anticipated to last three weeks, and safety conditions will be reassessed at that time. Scaling work began Sunday morning following a blessing ceremony Saturday at the project site. Before that, project mobilizing and preparation occurred over several days.