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Path work

October 31, 2017 GMT

KAPAA — Kauai’s popular Eastside path is set to complete its span from Lydgate Beach Park to Ahihi Point.

And the county is getting a good deal on it.

Members of the County Council unanimously approved an agreement for the project with the Department of Defense Civil-Military Innovative Readiness Training program grant.

“We buy the materials, they donate time and equipment,” said Lyle Tabata, acting county engineer with the Department of Public Works.

The DOD comes to Kauai to prepare servicemen for engineering construction projects as part of their training program.

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Plans for the Ke Ala Hele Makalae Coastal Multi-Use Path will connect the 2.5-mile section at Lydgate Beach Park to the Kapaa section.

Completion is planned for 2019-20.

The plan is to construct and align a portion of the Lydgate Beach Park-Kapaa bicycle/pedestrian path and upgrade the existing county-owned parking lot behind Kapaa Missionary Church by expanding it with 12 public parking stalls.

“We secure the design and materials for the construction and coordinate with the soldiers on-site during construction,” Tabata said.

Kauai benefited from the IRT program earlier this year when the boardwalk connection between between the Kawaihau spur and the end of Kawaihau Road was completed.

The 1,000-foot path starts near Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital and finishes at the Kuhio Highway end of Kawaihau Road.

The project was part of a training mission led by the 200th Red Horse Squadron, which is part of the Ohio National Guard. The Red Horse Squadron was supported by 248th Civil Engineer Flight, the 179th Airlift Wing, Seabees and Marines from the Engineer Service Company on that IRT mission.

The current path plan qualifies for a match of additional-but-separate federal funding that comes out of the federal highways program.

“Primarily the project that we proposing right now for the IRT program to assist us is the north end and the comfort station,” said Tabata.

The existing driveway off Kuhio Highway leads to a small paved parking lot. The project would enlarge the parking area, construct public restrooms and clearly define and maintain the overgrown beach path to promote shore access.

“It’s a critical restroom, because along the path this is one of the longest reaches without a public restroom,” said Douglas Haigh, chief of the DPW Building Division.

The application includes a path in front of the Courtyard Marriott and Coconut Plantation leading to the comfort station area and then potentially going toward the Uhelekawakawa Canal. The existing sidewalk would be widened to 12 feet.

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“Our intent is to improve that to be like a trailhead area,” Haigh said.

The path that follows Kauai’s “Coconut Coast” will be completed in phases from behind Kapaa Missionary Church near Kamoa Road and stretching south from Kauai Coast Resort Beachboy around to Coconut Marketplace at Papaloa Road.

“The Beachboy area along this coastline is the most sensitive area, because it has the highest erosion rate,” Haigh said. “But that area is not included as part of the grant application.”

Although plans are within the shoreline setback area, final approval of the design needs to come from the Kauai Planning Commission.