1 lane will be closed for re­moval of palms by Sun­set Beach Park

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - LOCAL - By Nina Wu nwu@starad­ver­tiser.com

The makai lane of Kame­hameha High­way will be closed for most of the day to­day as city crews con­duct the emer­gency re­moval of seven date palm trees fronting Sun­set Beach Park.

Work is ex­pected to be­gin at about 8:30 a.m. and con­tinue un­til 4 p.m. in the area im­me­di­ately around the work site fronting the beach park, ac­cord­ing to the city news re­lease. A buf­fer zone of at least 50 feet in both directions also will be in place.

The sin­gle-lane clo­sure is ex­pected to im­pact traf­fic along the cor­ri­dor.

Cer­ti­fied ar­borists with the city’s Di­vi­sion of Ur­ban Forestry have de­ter­mined that “the con­tin­ual un­der­min­ing of the palm trees by ero­sion made them a haz­ard to the gen­eral pub­lic and mo­torists.” Although the trees are on the makai side of Kame­hameha High­way, the city said com­pro­mised palm trees can fall in any di­rec­tion once they are struc­turally un­sound.

The crews plan to re­move the top and mid­dle por­tions of the palms, leav­ing about 4 feet of the tree trunks and roots in the ground. The re­main­ing roots are ex­pected to help re­duce ero­sion.

Se­vere ero­sion at Sun­set dur­ing the be­gin­ning of this win­ter surf sea­son re­sulted in the re­lo­ca­tion of a life­guard stand, Ocean Safety stor­age shed and bi­cy­cle path in De­cem­ber. Although some of the sand that washed away has since re­turned, a sig­nif­i­cant drop-off still re­mains.

Sun­set Beach res­i­dent Phyl­lis Ship­man said she was hop­ing the city could wait un­til an in­de­pen­dent study by the Out­door Cir­cle is com­pleted, and con­sider other op­tions. She said she and oth­ers in the com­mu­nity were sur­prised by the de­ci­sion, and hope there are long-term plans in place to mit­i­gate fur­ther ero­sion.

“I un­der­stand where they’re com­ing from, but I think you need to have a plan,” she said.

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