Hawaii Highways road photos -- Piilani Highway (page 2 of 2)

This is page 2 of photos, from my October 1999, May 2000, and November 2001 visits to Maui, of the Piilani Highway through rugged upcountry south Maui (part of county route 31). Page 1 provides introductory information about the entire highway (including a map, and warnings about road conditions), plus photos of or from the highway from its eastern end south of Kipahulu where it meets the Hana Highway, west to Kaupo. The photos below complete the journey, from Kaupo to Ulupalakua, where the Piilani Highway meets the Kula Highway (state route 37). Both pages cover the highway in reverse milemarker order, from east to west, for continuity with the photo pages for the Hana Highway, which together with the Piilani Highway form a loop through east Maui around the Haleakala volcano.

NOTE: In case you want more detail, clicking some of the photos below (for now, just some from my 2001 trip) will call up enlarged, higher-quality (less .jpg compression) versions. Those alternate versions have larger file sizes, so please be patient while they download.

Page 1: introduction, and Kipahulu-Kaupo

Kaupo Gap in the Haleakala Crater rim

The Kaupo Gap, viewed from the Piilani Highway. This is one of the deep valleys eroded into the Haleakala volcano crater rim (the other one, on the north side of Haleakala, can be seen from the Hana Highway). (October 1999)
Unpaved part of Piilani Highway (except asphalt tracks where needed for traction)
About four miles of the Piilani Highway around Kaupo are still unpaved (the county transportation department would like to change that -- but the stone walls limiting the road to one lane are likely to stay). It's easy to get stuck on this stretch after it's rained, so tourists need to check with the national park ranger station at Oheo Gulch before taking it on. (May 2000)
This is the milemarker style used on the Piilani Highway, unlike the standard style used in Hawaii where the mile number is aligned vertically rather than horizontally. White "31" route number plates under the milemarkers are, except at the highway's ends, the only indication of the route number. (November 2001)
Patchy pavement on the Piilani Modern two-lane bridge, replacing washed-out one-lane bridge
While the pavement has resumed by mile 33.4 (this photo was taken at mile 27.7), it is narrow and very roughly patched. The county is gradually resurfacing the road (see below for the results), but hasn't yet gotten this far east. As of May 2005, resurfacing had been completed east to mile 25.5. (May 2000) The Manawainui Bridge, one of the newest on the Piilani Highway, just west of where the photo to the left was taken. It was built as a replacement for an old bridge (see the old alignment just to the left of the new bridge). More of these "freeway-style" bridges (as some local residents complain) are being built as old bridges require replacement, with two more bridges like this built as of November 2001. Unlike the Hana Highway, the Piilani Highway west of Kaupo has no historic designations, and so the county is building new bridges to normal engineering standards rather than incur the higher costs of preserving or replicating the old structures. (May 2000)
Sea arch
A culvert without guardrails, at mile 30.4. A similar culvert east of Kaupo had rudimentary guardrails installed soon after my 2000 visit, and maybe that has been done here too since my last visit in May 2005.
A sea arch along the highway west of Kaupo, from mile 28.7. (May 2000)

The Pillani Highway pavement finally smooths out on the way back to central Maui -- but the county transportation department simply paved over the existing alignment, leaving it narrow and crooked. (That's how the residents of upcountry south Maui seem to like it -- some aren't too wild even about plans to pave the unpaved stretches like the one shown above, but opposition is more widespread to any more extensive road improvements.) (October 1999)
Smooth but wavy and crooked new pavement
At mile 18.2, a view of the Pimoe cinder cone, one of several along the southwest rift zone of the Haleakala volcano (outlet of its most recent eruption, in the late 18th century), downhill from an old lava field the highway crosses. The uninhabited island of Kahoolawe is off in the distance, behind Pimoe. (November 2001)
Sign:  Begin State Highway | End Rte 31
The end of the county road, where it meets the Kula Highway (state route 37) to Kula and beyond in central Maui. These are the only things resembling route markers on the Piilani Highway, though some of the milemarkers (as shown above) also indicate the route munber. (Both photos May 2000)

Unlike its famous counterpart the Hana Highway, I am not aware of any other web sites focusing on the Piilani Highway (though some sites about the Hana Highway, or Maui in general, provide limited coverage of the Piilani Highway). 

Mark Furqueron's Hawaii road photos page has some Piilani Highway photos.

Also, one mountain biker's site has several Piilani Highway photos (on two pages -- link is to the first page).

As for books, Richard Sullivan's Driving and Discovering Hawaii: Maui and Molokai (1998) includes several pages of photos on the Piilani Highway, following its more extensive coverage of the Hana Highway.

Page 1: introduction, and Kipahulu-Kaupo
or go to the previous or next parts of the Hawaii Highways road photos collection:

Link to go back to Hana Highway pages
to Hana Highway (Maui part 1)
Link to continue to Kahekili Highway (Maui part 3)
to Kahekili Highway (Maui part 3)
or directly to other parts:

Overview · Introduction · Interstate H-3 · Interstate H-1 · Other Freeways
Other Oahu South · Other Oahu West · Other Oahu East · Kuhio Highway
Other Kauai · Other Maui · Lanai/Molokai · Kalawao County
Saddle Road · Observatories Roads · Lava Closures · Red Road
Waipio Valley · Other Big Island

or to other sections of the Hawaii Highways site:

Link to Hawaii Highways main page Link to Hawaii Highways, Maui route list

Comments, etc.? Please e-mail me.

© 1999-2003, 2006-2008 Oscar Voss.