Kauai begins cleanup and repairs as long-gone sun returns
LIHUE » Work crews were out in force yesterday assessing damage and making repairs during the first sunny day in more than a month on the Garden Isle.
While much of the island began to return to normalcy, some of Kauai's top tourist attractions were still closed to the public as workers waited for the areas to dry out.
While county work crews were out fixing potholes across Kauai, Polihale State Park on the west side of Kauai and the Na Pali Coast State Park remain closed due to flooding and minor landslides. The dirt road to Polihale is littered with potholes, while reports of a mudslide have kept the Kalalau trail closed to hikers until state workers can assess the damage, state officials said.
Kokee Road, one of two access ways to Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park, was reopened Sunday after crews spent several days clearing mud from the roadway, county officials said.
Two county roads are partially closed because of road damage. One lane on Punee Road in Omao, and Kule Road, which is only open to local traffic, will be closed until continued dry weather allows crews to make repairs, county spokeswoman Mary Daubert said.
Meanwhile, the county is turning to the state and federal governments for a hand to start debris removal in the Wailapa area, where the Ka Loko dam broke March 14.
Residents have reported a horrible stench and swarms of mosquitoes, making the area virtually uninhabitable.
While there is no time frame to start the cleanup, Daubert said the county is working to request funds from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and matching funds from the state emergency fund.
In a press release, Kauai mayor Bryan Baptiste said, "We understand the sense of urgency in dealing with this situation."
As of yesterday most of Kauai's county parks were open, and Lydgate Park, which had been closed for a week because of a sewage spill, was open.
Even Lydgate's snorkeling pools, which had been closed all last month after they were inundated with debris, will likely be reopened this week, said Dee Morikawa, county parks office manager.
A contractor has been removing the tons of logs, dirt and other flotsam deposited from the mouth of the nearby Wailua River, Morikawa said.
A few ball fields still remained closed, however, as they drain out, and bathrooms at Haena Beach Park on the North Shore were closed. Morikawa said that they are likely to remain closed for a while, and portable toilets have been provided.