Final environmental assessment for greenway submitted

A final environmental assessment has been submitted for the final phase of the proposed North Shore Greenway, a pedestrian and bike path that would connect Kahului to Paia.

The fourth and final phase of the path would stretch nearly a mile from Ulupua Place in Spreckelsville to Baldwin Beach Park, where it will connect with the existing bike path, according to documents published last week by the state Office of Environmental Quality Control.

The proposed path is an 8-foot-wide asphalt concrete pathway along the westbound shoulder of Hana Highway, a state-owned roadway. The path would be set approximately 7.5 feet away from current vehicle travel. A portion of the path will cross Baldwin Beach Park and land owned by the Maui Country Club.

Planners said about 65 feet of the greenway would fall along the southern edge of the Maui Country Club Golf Course, though “design coordination will be undertaken with the Maui Country Club to ensure that golf operations are not adversely affected by this segment of the greenway,” according to the document.

In the chosen greenway route, a portion of the path also would cross Kailua Stream where it nears Baldwin Beach Park. The project includes plans to build a bridge crossing the stream. The state Commission on Water Resource Management determined in the final assessment that a Stream Channel Alteration Permit was not required because Kailua Stream is not considered a perennial stream and the stream bank or instream uses will not be adversely affected. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also found that the project doesn’t require its approval because “no discharge of fill or dredged material will occur into waters of the U.S.” It still recommended the use of best management practices to ensure no construction materials or debris run into the stream.

The project’s estimated construction cost is $1.75 million, according to the assessment. If all necessary approvals and entitlements are obtained, construction would begin in early 2016 with construction taking six to nine months.

The final environmental assessment comes after more than 20 years of planning by the county Department of Public Works and community members. Once completed, the North Shore Greenway would be a 7-mile path that begins at Kanaha Beach Park in Kahului and ends in Paia town. The project aims to “provide a safer lane of travel for bikers and pedestrians,” the assessment said.

“Hawaii is the most oil-dependent state in the United States, with more than 95 percent of its energy demand coming from imported fossil fuels, resulting in the highest gasoline and electricity prices in America,” Maui resident and PEDEGO Electric Bikes co-founder Lee Chamberlain said in a statement. “With the . . . advancement of bicycles as an alternative means of transportation it only makes sense.”

According to the document, no sensitive natural resources would be affected by the greenway, and no rare, threatened or endangered species or their habitats would be adversely impacted.

Tobacco trees were observed in the project area, which is a non-native host of the endangered Blackburn’s sphinx moth. Removal of any tobacco trees would be coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the assessment said.

A draft environmental assessment was filed in March. After its review was completed, there was a determination of no significant impact.

The project still needs a series of federal, state and county permits before it can be implemented. In addition to a special management area assessment, flood hazard district permit and construction permits from the county, it also needs to acquire a national pollutant discharge elimination system permit and a community noise permit.

The assessment can be found online at Click on “EA and EIS Online Library,” then “Maui” and then click on the 2010 folder.

* Eileen Chao can be reached at