Could Hawaii be on shaky ground?UPDATED 8:19 PM HST Apr 01, 2014Video Transcript
It is just one of many projects in the works or on the table for COUNTY AND STATE agencies. In light of the recent tragic landslide in Washington state -- we take a look at our situation in Hawaii. And what has geologists saying... ...we can MUCH MORE to protect lives. 53-56 126 1549-00 You see the same kind of thing happen here every year, but on a smaller, mostly on smaller scale. The pictures -- forever stunning -- of that deadly landslide in Washington State -- dropping a square mile of the hillside. Hard to imagine it would happen here -- but University of Hawaii Geologist Steve Martel remembers one close in size -- behind Makaha Valley Towers 1996: 1623-27 It ran three stories up the back and there were tens of thousands of tons of rock. Martel points to dangers -- big and small -- every year: --The massive boulders coming down in Hawaii Kai in 2011 --In and that one in Lanikai in 2007. --Hard to forget this: Waimea on the North Shore -- the same year -- shutting down Kamehameha Highway -- and costing 10s of millions in repairs. --And burned in our memories: the 1999 deadly Sacred Falls landslide killing 8 and injuring scores of others. MARTEL 3027- 31 I thought sacred falls was going to cause some things to happen. AILA 713 We don't have that kind of money right now. In the past 10 years, the DLNR has completed 14 rockfall remediation projects. With 10 more in the works -- or on their wish list. With an average budget of 2 to 3 million a year. The Department of Transportation lists DOZENS of projects too -- as does the county. But DLNR Director William Aila says, not only is money tight, combinations of private-public land make many situations complicated. Take Lanikai: AILA 434-45 It's a combination of property owners, of how steep the walls of the mountains are, and now you have development. 3446 The data are available and the tecnliques are available. Martel says a big problem: state's topogaphical maps are painfully out dated, there is no comprehensive hazard survey showing where things have happened, and we're missing out on technology available NOW, using lasars to accurately map the ground, or radar to map a surface and how it changes. A few of the MANY costs Aila contends... as our islands continue to change. AILA 546-57 We still have to deal with the present issue, building near mountain sides, near sand dunes, these are all issues we're going to have to deal with. As for that situation in Lanikai -- discussions are currently underway. Aila says he expects to get word back from landowners on what they want to do -- in the next month or two. And he says, RIGHT NOW, the department is working with county officials -- around the state -- to see what MORE can be done to address the threat of landslides.