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Wildfire debris removal to begin in Lahaina, Jan. 16 : Maui Now

Lahaina debris removal map.

Fire debris removal begins in Lahaina on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024 under a collaborative effort between the County of Maui, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The removal comes after Friday’s council vote to pass Bill 120, which authorized an intergovernmental agreement, allowing use of the Olowalu Temporary Disposition Site.

The partners hope to expedite the removal of debris from designated areas to the Olowalu Temporary Debris Storage site. The operation will be conducted by USACE and contractor ECC Constructors, LLC in areas where owners have completed their right-of-entry process.

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“This is a crucial next step for Lahaina, and I’m grateful for the help of so many government, community and private partners,” said Mayor Richard Bissen. “It will be a long and challenging process but as each load of ash and debris is carefully wrapped, wetted and hauled away, we will be getting one step closer to rebuilding Lahaina.”

Each truckload will utilize a “burrito” wrapping method of secure packaging to prevent debris and ash from becoming airborne during transport, according to a County of Maui news release. During debris removal operations, the material is wetted-down, and prior to transport to the Temporary Debris Storage, is wrapped in thick industrial plastic that is sealed with an adhesive.

Traffic Flow and Route:

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Loaded debris trucks will adhere to the designated traffic flow plan for efficient and safe removal of material. The route will follow Honoapi‘ilani Highway, turning left on Kapunakea St., then proceeding along Front St., before rejoining Honoapi‘ilani Highway until reaching the Lahaina Bypass. To facilitate the smooth passage of trucks, a manual traffic light will be installed at the intersection of the Lahaina Bypass and Honoapi‘ilani Hwy.

Traffic Control Measures:

In addition to the traffic plan, there will be a specific traffic management system for individuals entering the Olowalu Convenience Center and for trucks descending the hill from the Temporary Debris Storage. Trained flaggers will be strategically placed to direct traffic, ensuring a streamlined entry and exit route for both residents and debris removal vehicles.

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“We understand that as this essential debris removal operation begins, the increased truck traffic at intersections may present an inconvenience to motorists and residents,” said Director Shayne Agawa, of the Department of Environmental Management. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation as contractors follow traffic management procedures to keep traffic flowing while maximizing road safety.”

For more information on debris removal, visit www.mauirecovers.org/debrisremoval.

Source: Maui News

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