News Release: Federal Grant to Replace Bridge Will Restore ‘Important Link’ for Maui County Residents

Posted on Nov 17, 2021 in 2021 Severe Weather/Flooding Events, Information and News Releases, Main, News Stories


For Immediate Release
November 17, 2021

Federal Grant to Replace Bridge Will Restore ‘Important Link’ for Maui County Residents  

HONOLULU – A newly awarded bridge project totaling nearly $3 million dollars is set to bring relief to over 200 rural residents in and around Haʻikū in Maui County, saving them hundreds of extra driving miles and bringing them closer to vital services that could save a life.


When heavy rains struck the State of Hawaiʻi in March, the County of Maui sustained severe damage to several areas of critical infrastructure. On March 8, 2021, the storms eroded an existing drainage channel upstream of Kaupakalua Bridge, causing the bridge to wash away.


Built in about 1911, the two-lane timber bridge connected roughly 200 residents in the area to services, allowing access to needs such as shopping, gas stations, and medical care. With the bridge gone, residents in some 64 homes have had to travel 4-5 miles farther to access the same services. Ambulances, fire equipment and other responders also had to travel the longer routes to provide help in an emergency.


Though residents were not completely cut off from services, a few minutes can make all the difference in emergency response in a rural community, said Daniel Trexler, project specialist with the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA).


“Kaupakalua Bridge is an important link between communities in Haʻikū,” added Brian Perry, spokesman for Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino.


To restore that link, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on November 15 awarded more than $2.9 million to rebuild the Kaupakalua Bridge to its pre-disaster function and capacity. The grant was awarded as part of federal disaster declaration for the March 2021 Maui flooding, which damaged bridges, roads and homes and overtopped Kaupakalua Dam.


The project will remove the existing concrete pier footing and restore the bridge deck and superstructure by installing a pre-engineered steel truss bridge that meets the standards for a 100-year flood event.


The construction also will restore the east and west bridge approaches and add a retaining wall to match the new bridge deck elevation.


The Kaupakalua Bridge project is the result of close collaboration among the County of Maui Public Works Department, HI-EMA, and FEMA in the ongoing recovery effort.


“HI-EMA would like to thank FEMA and the County of Maui for their efforts as the community continues to recover from the severe weather experienced last March,” Trexler said.


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Adam Weintraub
Communications Director
[email protected]

For the latest information from the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HIEMA) please go to:



Hollie Reina
Public Relations Specialist HI-EMA
Cell: 808-620-5423
[email protected]