Kula road work resumes
with care for environment

A modified design will protect
jacaranda trees and the hillsides

KULA, Maui >> State construction resumed Friday along a section of a Maui highway where work was halted after residents complained about damage to several jacaranda trees and hillsides.

Ferdinand "Freddie" Cajigal, the highway district engineer on Maui, said the state will not cut any more jacarandas along the Kula Highway and that the private contractor doing the road work has retained an arborist to oversee the repairs.

The annual bloom of the jacaranda flowers has become a symbol of spring in Kula along the northwestern slopes of Haleakala.

Cajigal ordered a halt to the $2.5 million highway improvement project last Wednesday, after receiving complaints about the construction.

Cajigal said instead of cutting into some hillsides to create gutters, the contractor will be extending the asphalt shoulders to the embankments.

"Extending the pavement to the embankment will accomplish the intent of the design, which is to prevent erosion while conveying drainage runoff," Cajigal said.

The extension of the pavement without a gutter design will also enable bicyclists and pedestrians to continue to use the shoulders safely, residents said.

Cajigal said the state has also agreed to reduce the installation of guard rails along the highway to 1,000 feet from 4,000 feet.

Cajigal said that in the future, highway officials will be consulting with a citizens' group in the planning and design of highway projects in Kula.

Kula resident Barbara Long, a member of the group, said she was pleased that state highway officials will be letting the group review and comment on highway projects in their community before the contracts are sent out to bid. Long said that at a meeting with Kula residents last Thursday, Cajigal seemed "genuinely helpful."

"That's a good sign," she said.


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