Judge orders removal of barriers at Laniakea Beach

Kamehameha Highway

Controversial concrete barriers on Oahu’s North Shore must come down.

A judge ruled Tuesday on the barriers at Laniakea Beach.

The court says the barriers must come down by the beginning of next week.

The barriers on Kamehameha Highway first went up in 2013 due to safety and traffic concerns. Too many people were crossing the highway to get to the beach to see the green sea turtles.

But the barriers also prevented people from parking right across the beach, and a judge said Tuesday that access has to be allowed.

The state is now working with the city on a plan, but since no deal has been reached, the court says the barriers have to come down by Monday, Aug. 24.

“This was just a band-aid and it simply moved the traffic congestion from part of Kamehameha Highway up the road toward Chuns reef, where there’s equally difficult parking and access issues on the highway,” said William Saunders, attorney for the plaintiffs. “In the meantime, the barriers come down and we’re open to continue to working with the city and the state to address traffic issues and we can stipulate to reinstall the barriers per the court’s order if they satisfy our conditions for restoring parking.”

Some of the ideas floated to allow access include letting people park behind the barriers or realigning the highway.

The city says it will work with the state once it’s decided on a plan. In a statement, corporation counsel Donna Leong said:

“The city supports the state Department of Transportation’s efforts to make access to Laniakea safe. We will work with the state to allow it to use the city’s land to achieve the state’s goals. Once the state has decided on a traffic management plan, the city will review the plan to determine which city permits, in addition to any state requirements, will be required.”

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