Wailua Beach Erosion

SUBHEAD: Wailua Beach is backed against a new highway and eroding quickly. Should we jam in a bike path?  

By James Alalem & Ray Catania on 13 June 2012 in TGI -

Image above: Ray Catania stands at concrete DOT electrical box controlling traffic signals at the intersection of Kuamoo Road and the newly widened Kuhio Highway and Wailua Bridge.

The Wailua Beach bike path supporters had better take notice on the latest shoreline erosion that is taking place on the beach today. This is where the path is supposed to pass.

The recent coastal surges that have happened in late May and early June have now broken through the county’s own 40-foot shoreline setback ordinance.

The electrical box fronting the Kuamoo Road intersection and the adjoining educational stand is now closer to the shoreline less than 19 feet from the crumbling sand dune.

Image above: This photo from late May, 2012, is the sand path that went the whole length of the beach through a wide band of vegetation above the shoreline. Already much of Wailua Beach was in the ocean.

Image above: This is what was left of the same path in early June of 2012. Now much of that path is in the ocean.

Much of the planned bike path is now much less than 40 feet from the new high water mark. The sand path is crumbling and now developing cracks and water rivulets.

Image above. This is photo from late May, 2012, is of the concrete foundation for what was a beach-side lifeguard stand. In front of this station used to be sandlot volleyball court that is now in the ocean.

Image above: The ocean swirls over and past the life station foundation in this photo from early June 2012.

The concrete lifeguard base and the former volleyball sandlot, along with boundary boulders from the makeshift parking lot, have now fallen into the surge.

The “big bucks” spent so far on the Wailua Beach path and the cement path being built behind Kintaro would have been much better spent on hiring our youth for park cleanup and restoration this summer.

The Wailua Beach bike path is nothing more than a free ride for the tourist industry, a boondoggle for the corps of bike renters popping up in Wailua and a twisted view of paradise for some well-heeled newcomers who don’t understand protecting and leaving our Wailua Beach shoreline as-is.
Mayor Carvalho, stop this foolishness now.

[IB Editor's note: The section of Kuhio Highway between the south shore of the Wailua River past Kuamoo Road to Paploa Road is the most critical circulation problem on Kauai. 

A fortune was recently spent to widen the Kuhio Highway and Wailua Bridge as part of a solution to Kauai's worst traffic bottleneck between the two largest population centers on the island. The ocean may ruin this once in a lifetime investment in a matter of a few years. 

The only way to maintain reliable vehicular traffic around Kauai some decades into the future would have been to rebuild the highway and Wailua bridge crossing further inland impossible politically. From our point of view the bike and pedestrian path crossing of the river is the least of our worries. That's doable with county resources. 

What we might not have in the future is a highway crossing in the current location that can support multiple lanes of cement trucks and semi-tractor-trailers without driving them through the surf.]

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