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Monday, March 13, 2000

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
People walk across a temporary walkway this morning
that was placed across Waimea Bay's beach. It was much
easier to walk across the walkway rather than the sand.

Waimea Bay
‘green mile’
is replaced

The infamous stretch is
removed to make way for
a temporary bypass road

Temporary road construction

By Suzanne Tswei


For the record, the infamous "green mile" is not one-mile long. The green-mesh walkway on Waimea Beach is actually a little less than 1,000 feet. It takes 419 steps to walk from end to end, give or take a few steps depending on your stride.

You easily can finish it under 15 minutes. Or in 10 minutes, if you are in good shape and don't dawdle.

But the "green mile" is history. It was removed yesterday to make way for a temporary bypass road and replaced with a new and firmer path roughly the same length. The new walkway, constructed yesterday, is made of honeycomb-like black plastic grid that should make the passage faster and easier.

"Well, I think this is one way to get my exercise, whether I like it or not," said Larry Luehrs, who has trekked across the temporary green walkway numerous times since the rockslide one week ago. He lives on the Pupukea side of the rockslide and needs to make his way across the sand to go to Haleiwa to do his shopping.

State officials had the walkway installed to accommodate area residents who needed to get from one side of Waimea Bay to the other after the rockslide last Monday closed a stretch of Kamehameha Highway.

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
North Shore residents use a temporary walkway to go from
one side to the other today. On the Pupukea side, there is
a makeshift road but it still isn't open. This is Chris Tisdale
who works in Haleiwa, and lives in Pupukea.

"I'm doing my best to take things in stride. It's not as bad as a hurricane or an earthquake, but it's been a challenge," Luehrs said.

Despite the inconvenience, the rockslide has had a positive impact on the community. "The one good thing is you get to talk to your neighbors and the people you know but never see. It's brought the community closer," Luehrs said.

The rockslide has made him more resourceful as well. The Kahuku High School teacher has signed up for the state's Vanpool program and will be picking up colleagues on the Pupukea side of the bay to drive them to school. He keeps his own car on the other side of the bay for shopping trips.

"The only thing is with all this walking back and forth, there's no time left to go to the beach. Every time I walk across here, I see the beautiful blue ocean and I tell myself 'I have to go to the beach,'" Luehrs said.

Mary Shepardson, who lives in Waialua, also is making the best of a bad situation as she makes three round trips every day across the beach to get her two boys to and from Sunset Beach Elementary School.

"It is inconvenient. It used to take me about an hour to get the kids to school. Now it takes about an hour and a half," said Shepardson, a Haleiwa hairdresser.

"But, it's also wonderful. I get to spend more time with my kids -- walking. It's beautiful here. I am not grumbling.

"Where else in the world do you get to walk through a post card every day?" she said, noting the picturesque scenery of Waimea Bay on one side and a shimmering blue ocean on the other.

In the morning, Shepardson makes the trip with first-grader Micah and preschooler Luke. At noon she picks up Luke, and then at 5:30 p.m. she returns for Micah. Shepardson and her children walk across the sand to get to a friend's house at Three Tables and then use a car she shares with another friend to get the children to school.

"It's all worked out very well. We are strategically located so we can get from one side to the other and have a car," Shepardson said. Finding parking has been more of a challenge than the walk across the beach, she said. Usually she needs to circle the parking lot at Waimea Beach Park a few times before finding a spot.

"People aren't too patient waiting for a parking space. People are parking all over the place _ on the grass, everywhere they are not supposed to," she said.

Police officer Kyle Yonemura knows about the parking situation only too well. "Can you please put it in the newspaper about people who feel they can park anywhere they want to?" he asked as he kept an eye on illegal parking in the lot at Waimea Beach Park yesterday.

"We've been instructed to show as much aloha as we can," Yonemura said. But allowing parking in the no-parking zone is beyond his authority.

Yonemura also was keeping an eye on a man trying to sell "I survived the rockslide at Waimea" T-shirt and a handful of protesters on the beach. The protesters demonstrated yesterday afternoon against the state's plan to clear the cliffs of loose rocks and construction of a bypass road on the beach.

"I have to say there have been some inconsiderate people, but I also have met the nicest people who are trying to make the best of the situation," Yonemura said.

Construction to begin
for temporary road
at Waimea slide area

By Susanne Tswei


Construction is expected to begin soon on a temporary bypass road around the rockslide above Waimea Bay, and in the meantime a new and better walkway is open this morning for area residents to travel on foot across the bay.

Workers laid down a rock foundation yesterday to connect Kamehameha Highway to the bypass road, state transportation spokeswoman Marilyn Kali said. Construction of the bypass road will begin from the Sunset Beach side toward Waimea Beach Park. The road is expected to be finished by Friday.

The road will be build by Kiewit Pacific using a "geo grid fabric," which is honeycomb-shaped plastic, Kali said. The fabric will be laid on the sand and then filled with sand to form the road. Workers will use the fabric available locally while additional supplies are being air-freighted from the mainland early this week.

Assessment on how best to remove the remaining loose rocks overlooking the highway also will continue today. A Mainland rockslide expert arrived yesterday to visit the site of the landslide that closed Kamehemeha Highway last Monday.

Yesterday, workers from Hawaiian Fertilizer Sales Inc. finished building a new walkway across the beach to replace a walkway made of green mesh. The new walkway is made of a black plastic grid that is similar to the "geo grid fabric" that will be used for the temporary bypass road.

Troy Ogasawara, vice president of the fertilizer company, said the plastic grid comes in 18-inches-by-18-inches blocks and needed to be connected to make the nearly 1,000-foot walkway.

"We spent all night -- I mean all night -- putting it together," said Ogasawara. He and six workers connected several thousand blocks Saturday night after constructing a demonstration path for state officials to conduct tests. He and his crew then began building the walkway on the beach yesterday afternoon.

They rolled out the connected grids, which formed a nearly 4-foot-wide path, onto the sand and then filled it with sand to finish the walkway.

Kiewit workers also built a stairway to connect the highway to the new path.

Ogasawara expects the new walkway to hold up better than the previous walkway nicknamed the "green mile." He said the green walkway began falling apart when people rode mountain bikes on it.

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