The Most Endangered pau hana event at Laulima House on November 9 included a presentation of the 2016 Most Endangered Historic Places–succinctly summarizing each–what are they, what threatens them and what can be done to save them. Here’s a spotlight on Ninole Stream Bridge, one of the five sites added to this year’s list.
WHAT IS IT?
Ninole Stream Bridge in Kau on Hawaii Island is one of the last remaining timber bridges in the state. Built in 1940 by engineer William R. Bartels, the 60-foot historic bridge has wooden columns and railings that are structurally sound. It was included in the 2013 Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Historic Bridge Inventory and determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. HDOT has determined the bridge to be of “High Preservation Value” due to its intact condition and rarity of design and materials.
WHAT THREATENS IT?
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is proposing demolition of the bridge noting it’s not wide enough for modern transportation. The plan is to build a replacement bridge with wider lanes to accommodate larger vehicles.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
The current proposal calls for a temporary bridge to be built during construction, next to the historic bridge. If the parallel bridge is made permanent, the original bridge can be saved. The historic bridge can then become a resource for the local community with use limited to pedestrians and bicycles.