President Obama declared a federal disaster for Maui following heavy rains and flooding last month that changed the course of the Wailuku River and caused major damage to the Iao Valley State Monument.
Obama signed a federal disaster declaration today, making federal aid available for emergency work and the repair and replacement of facilities damaged by severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides on Maui between Sept. 11 and Sept. 14.
The Iao Valley state park remains closed as work continues to remove tons of debis, broken concrete and asphalt from the 6.5-acre site that’s popular with tourists and residents.
On the night of Sept. 13, the valley and its river were overwhelmed by waters that surged from a rate of under 100 million gallons per day to an estimated 3 billion gallons per day.
Iao Valley State Monument was swamped. Concrete walkways, pedestrian bridges and the parking lot were either damaged or destroyed. Floodwaters cut into a nearly vertical cliff below the parking lot, eating away 20 feet of grassy park and undermining the cliff’s stability.
The violent flood swept away trees and large boulders from the original riverbed and sent them hurtling into a new waterway that doubled and tripled in width in some areas.
Larry Pacheco, Maui branch manager for the Division of State Parks, said it will take four to six months to reopen the park, depending on the weather. Estimated costs range from $6 million to $15 million.
In the meantime the state is losing about $20,000 a month in parking fees, he said.
Regan estimated that it would take six to eight months to reopen the county’s Kepaniwai Park, with the first priority of stabilizing another parking lot undermined by floodwaters. He said total costs are estimated in excess of $10 million.