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Hawaiʻi County officials to discuss closure of Waipiʻo Valley Access Road

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Hawaiʻi County officials will be discussing the closure of Waipiʻo Valley Access Road in a virtual public meeting Wednesday.

The county closed the access road to visitors on Feb. 25. A report found that there was an imminent threat of slope and roadway failure.

County spokesperson Cyrus Johnasen says he understands the frustration of residents – but the road has been long overdue for maintenance.

"The number one thing that we want to convey in this meeting is just really explain to people what caused our concern, and then really go into why we decided to make this call," he said.

"Nothing in the report says that we absolutely have to, but what it does say is that if we don’t act now, someone can get hurt later," Johnasen said. "We decided to make a really tough decision. And in order to do that, we consulted with the community – and we held a bunch of meetings and really went over what is the best way to tackle this problem, and get to the solution we desire."

Johnasen says the road closure is temporary for repairs, but visitors can still access the valley by other access means, such as by boat.

The virtual public meeting starts at 5 p.m. Wednesday on Zoom. More information can be found at dpw.hawaiicounty.gov.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at charlow@hawaiipublicradio.org or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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