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Engineers ready with options for WWII munitions on Maui

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This story has been corrected. See below.

WAILUKU » The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this week released proposed plans for clearing munitions and explosives from a Maui area that was used for bombing practice during World War II.

The former bombing area at Kana­hena Point in Makena is mostly barren lava, with some vegetation. It’s part of a natural area reserve. Kana­hena Point has heiau, burials, trails, shelters, caves, fishpond complexes, ranching walls and a lighthouse site.

The 14th Naval District used the point for bombing practice beginning about June 1945 until shortly after the war ended later that year. Previous investigations showed suspected munitions include machine-gun rounds and practice bombs.

The preferred option would cost $1.6 million. It involves removing munitions and explosives that are visible on the surface or in crevices or gaps in the lava rock about 200 acres south of Makena Ala­nui Road, Wai­luku newspaper The Maui News reported Tuesday.

The munitions and explosives would be detonated there or moved and disposed of by an authorized recycler. Signs would be posted to warn the public of potential hazards.

It’s estimated the plan can be implemented within 18 months, according to the corps.

An alternative option involves a complete surface removal of all 636 acres south of Makena Ala­nui Road at a cost of $4.3 million. The corps said this alternative is rated lower for implementation because the rugged terrain of the site is difficult to traverse.

A public meeting was held last Wednesday at Loke­lani Intermediate School to discuss all the proposed alternatives. Representatives from the Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Health were there to answer questions and take comments.

CORRECTION

A public meeting to discuss options for disposing munitions from a former bombing area at Kanahena Point, Maui, was held last Wednesday at Lokelani Elementary School. An earlier version of this story and on Page B2 of Saturday’s print edition said the meeting was scheduled for this Wednesday.

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