By Tommy Noyes

The most recently completed segment of Ke Ala Hele Makalae crosses the Uhelekaawa Canal at Waipouli Beach Resort, leads makai towards the Bull Shed Restaurant, and parallels the shore makai of the Sheraton Kaua‘i Coconut Beach Resort. Photo by Tommy Noyes

Planning, design, and construction of Ke Ala Hele Makalae, often referred to as East Kaua‘i’s bike path, is separated into six different phases.

The entire Ke Ala Hele Makalae concept entails using available Federal Highways Administration funds to connect communities along approximately 20 miles of Kaua‘i’s eastern coastline through an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, integrated walking and bicycling path system, built by the County of Kaua‘i’s Public Works Department, and managed by the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Here’s an update on the Kapa‘a portion of the project.

Phase I consists of the paths and several amenities in Lydgate Beach Park. This Phase was opened for the public’s use in 2004. Phase II, blessed in 2008, includes the amenities and the linear four miles of path along the coast from Lihi Boat Ramp in Kapa‘a to the stub out near Kuna Bay, with a spur going up to a comfort station and trailhead at Kealia, on the makai side of Kuhio Highway.

On June 13, 2022 Michael Moule, PE, PTOE, Chief of Engineering, Public Works Department, County of Kaua‘i provided the following details on Ke Ala Hele Makalae’s status.

Construction continues extending Phase III of the path system, a much more complex project than Phases I and II. Phase III will eventually consist of a 2.8-mile-long contiguous path from Lydgate Beach Park to Lihi Boat Ramp. Additionally, work completed in Phase III includes the 2017 construction of the 0.4 mile long Kawaihau Connection and Elevated Boardwalk. Phase III is mostly complete.

The southern portion of Phase III now in service continues Lydgate Beach Park’s path, crosses the Wailua River, parallels Kuhio Highway along Wailua Beach Park, follows Papaloa Road to the Coconut Marketplace, and currently stubs out at that commercial parking lot. The present gap starts at the Papaloa Road stub out and runs north approximately 0.6 mile to the recently completed path fronting the Sheraton Kaua‘i Coconut Beach Resort.

Two segments of Phase III are yet to be completed. Ka‘iwa Construction, Inc. is under contract with the county’s Public Works Department for the construction of one of those segments. These segments include:

  • Improvement of the existing coastal public access right-of-way from Papaloa Road to the shore between the Kaua‘i Shores and the Aston Islander on the Beach Resort properties,
  • Building the segment makai of the Aston Islander on the Beach and Kaua‘i Coast resorts, and
  • Paving the trailhead parking area in the vicinity of The ISO Resort and Bull Shed Restaurant with pedestrian access to Kuhio Highway.

Barring unforeseen complications, that construction should be completed within the coming nine months. That will leave an unimproved stretch along the coast approximately one third of a mile long.

Tommy Noyes

A condition of the Coconut Beach Resort developers’ permitting requires them to build the 0.3 mile long section of Ke Ala Hele Makalae on the makai side of their resort. No plan to initiate any construction on that site is currently on record with the County, hence no informed completion date for that segment is available. Despite being unimproved, the existing “soft surface” social trail is being used frequently.

Phases IV and V are planned to connect Lydgate Beach Park to Lihue’s urban core and the status on those Phases will be addressed in a future article.

  • Tommy Noyes is Kaua‘i Path’s executive director, a League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor and active with the Kaua‘i Medical Reserve Corps.



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