Mayor, Bless the Carvalho Curve

SUBHEAD: Our mayor could simply ask HIDOT to nudge the highway centerline mauka off the beach. Why doesn't he?

  Image above: Bernard Carvalho at Saint Francis Home Care Services. From (

By Juan Wilson on 10 June 2010 -

Jonathan Jay, and I, have submitted a plan to improve the alignment of the highway centerline of the highway section that passes in front of Wailua Beach. Jonathan pushed through an idea that the highway could be re-engineered to miss the beach.

I helped out with a handy reference book titled "Highway Curves" for calculating continuous curves and their tangencies. The new plan was derived from the engineering drawings of the highway created by the HIDOT's highway consultant. The match lines at both ends of of the project were left intact and all re-alignment was done within the existing 77 foot wide state highway right-of way.

The change in highway curve did not require narrowing the highway lanes or creating a variable radius curve. What the new curve achieves is allowing a 10 wide right-of-way for the bike path to exist mauka (inland) of the existing stone wall separating the beach from the existing highway. This new alignment would have zero footprint on the sand. It would also be further inland at about 14" higher elevation than the currently planned curve.

This alignment will result in less excavation and probably less disturbance of iwi (archeological human bones). This new alignment will cost no more money than recalculating the placement of pins to locate construction a few feet.

 The Garden Island reported 6/9/10 that the Native Hawaiian challenge to halt the highway widening has been dismissed (see below). The project is going ahead. Therefore, now is the time (the only time) to put this plan in action.
• The plan has been submitted to the HI DOT representative Ray McCormick in Puhi. DOT agrees that it is feasible, but does not initiate this sort of change on its own. • The plan has also been submitted to the Kauai County Council at the request of Chair Kaipo Asing. I am not aware that any action has been taken by the Council. • The plan has been submitted to Kauai Mayor Bernard Curvalho through his assistant Gary Heu. No response has been received from the mayor's office.
The mayor is the power player in this situation. That is why Jonathan titled his design effort the Carvalho Curve. We believe at this time the mayor can use his office to request of the HIDOT to follow the new curve and not force the bike path onto the sand of Wailua Beach. He can be a hero at little political cost. I suspect now that some people really do not care if the "problem" of desecrating the sand can be avoided. Why else ignore the solution.

Road widening project may proceed Image above: Waldeen K. Palmeira, of Wailua, sits near site of highway widening process. From original TGI article. Photo be Dennis Fujimoto. By Paul Curtis on 9 June 2010 in The Garden Island News - ( Fifth Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe on Tuesday dismissed a citizen challenge of the planned widening of Kuhio Highway in Wailua.
Waldeen K. Palmeira of Wailua argued state and federal authorities failed to follow their rules regarding consulting Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners before allowing the project to go forward, and that she is sure ancient Hawaiian burials exist along the road-widening route.
Watanabe said that without testimony from witnesses who have knowledge of the suspected burials, she had no choice but to grant the state Department of Transportation’s motion for summary judgment, effectively giving the project the green light to proceed and ending the legal matter unless Palmeira appeals the decision.
Palmeira and the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation had sought a preliminary injunction and summary judgment in October 2009, saying an environmental impact statement is necessary before the project should be allowed to proceed.
The state motions were to dismiss the lawsuit for lack of merit or, in the alternative, to grant summary judgment in favor of the state, either of which would effectively allow the project to proceed.
The $33 million project is planned to widen Kuhio Highway to four lanes from Kuamo‘o Road to the Kapa‘a bypass road, using federal funds that will lapse if not encumbered by Sept. 30, the end of the federal fiscal year, said William Wynhoff, state deputy attorney general representing DOT.
Palmeira asked for a continuance of the Tuesday hearing, citing her own health issues, but Watanabe denied that last-minute motion, Wynhoff objecting to the motion saying even another one-month delay would likely kill the project.
At the April hearing on the matter Palmeira fired her NHLC attorneys, and on Tuesday struggled to make her case without legal representation.
She requested the continuance to find new representation and because of her health issues.
Wynhoff said the narrow area to be used for the road-widening has already been “fully developed,” and Palmeira’s assertion that the road would be built over a graveyard “is just not so.”
“If we do find bones they’re going to be treated sensitively,” he said. “We might encounter some bones.”
Because the project is adjacent to one of the island’s busiest highways, it is not expected to significantly affect any traditional cultural practices or important cultural areas, said Wynhoff.
Palmeira disagreed, saying the area is the richest cultural and political center on the island, has been for 200 years, and is home to the only known named burial site, a place that translates from Hawaiian as “burials in the sand.”
Palmeira said that site extends from the fishponds at the old Coco Palms Resort to the ocean at Wailua Beach.
“The state is breaking the law on this one,” she said, adding that the shallow depth of the archaeological excavations conducted for the state by Cultural Surveys Hawai‘i failed to discover any human remains, known as “iwi kupuna.”
“They did not look good enough. I feel the entire process has been wrong,” Palmeira said.
Watanabe, who like Wynhoff patiently waited during most of Palmeira’s pauses due to her unfamiliarity with the pleadings bearing her name, finally scolded Palmeira for her rudeness for interrupting both Wynhoff and Watanabe repeatedly during the proceedings.
Watanabe said there was a “clear disconnect” between the written filings and Palmeira’s oral arguments, and that the state has conducted a thorough investigation across the narrow project corridor that has been a transportation route for vehicles including trains for over a century.
Use of ground-penetrating radar and other technologies revealed no bones, and neither did an environmental assessment, Watanabe said.
There are six undisputed facts which led to Watanabe’s decisions, she said:
— Summary judgment is allowed based on the facts and factors of the case;
— The state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ State Historic Preservation Division has jurisdiction over inadvertent discoveries of Native Hawaiian human remains;
— The Kaua‘i Ni‘ihau Island Burial Council has jurisdiction over known burial remains;
— The state has strict rules where graves are concerned;
— There are no known burial sites or remains in the project site, though some may be discovered during construction;
— Palmeira lacks any specific knowledge of graves in the project site, but two people Palmeira said have knowledge of graves in the project site were not present in court Tuesday and are not named or referenced in any of Palmeira’s pleadings.
If burials are discovered during construction, state laws will be followed for disposition of bones, said Watanabe.
“I do sympathize with Ms. Palmeira and what she’s trying to do, but the court has to act on matters of law,” said Watanabe, adding after making her rulings that Palmeira should work with the state Legislature to toughen burial-discovery laws.
Brennon Morioka, DOT director, has repeatedly said state officials felt the suit was without merit. DOT has met all state statutory requirements for proceeding with the project, he has said, and information contained in the state EA shows all necessary due diligence was done and statutory requirements met.


jim said...

The sands of Wailua Beach extend from the edge of the sea and under the highway onto Coco Palms property. That is why the there were so many burials on the hotel property. It was built in a favored location for burials, mauka of the dune crest.

The width of the highway is built on the beach / crest of the dune.

Some sections along the makai side have been reinforced with buried boulder to keep the ocean from washinh out the road.

Juan Wilson said...

Aloha Jim,

I can understand that the highway violates the cultural heritage of Wailua.

But what is to be done?

I'm all for not widening the highway. I think it is $33 million wasted. Traffic is going to recede as a "problem" as de-industrialization takes hold.

I do think that the bike/walking path is more important than the highway. I would hate to see them widen the highway and forget abou the people who are not in cars.

They are going to widen the highway AND build the path.

The Carvalho Curve serves the need to reduce impact on the beach. No?


jim said...

Am I missing something here.
I don't see a link to or a plan view of the curve.

Anonymous said...

A closer reading of the article would reveal: "...even another one-month delay would likely kill the project." That is the answer to the "why not" question, Before you tell me it won't cause a delay let me say you can't BS a BSer. This is a chapter right out of the Sierra Club's "Block Whatever" Handbook. Make a last minute proposal that appeals to intuitive thinking, rather than reality, create a groundswell, sit back and enjoy.....the timing is tactical and you both know it.
Regards, Pete Antonson

Juan Wilson said...


Go talk to Ray McCormick at DOT. He brought the issue up because he thought there might be a plausible solution. He was not in a position to initiate such an effort.

As for questioning my motives or honesty of my tactics - I say go check your ebay site and then look in the mirror.


Anonymous said...

Aloha Juan,
Don't take it so personal. You and Jonathan are activists. Activists use tactics. It's not an issue of honesty and I'm not making it one or accusing you of dishonesty. I'm one whose mission is to expose tactics and analyse communication resembling propaganda. It's academic; not personal.
Regards, Pete

Anonymous said...

As for ebay, that's nthe BSer you can't BS.
Pete Antonson

Anonymous said...

Juan Wilson, haven't you and your friend Jonathon caused enough damage in your super-ferry fiasco. Now airfares are out of sight with no clean cut competition. The barges and cruise ships can still cruise but not an inter island ferry system.

The pedestrian trail has been approved and it sits on the makai side of the highway where the rest of the trail is.

If anything the current road construction in Wailua is much more obtrusive to dead spirits, give it a rest. Carvalho4 mayor kimo Rosen

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