Video by David Corrigan | Voice of Stephanie Salazar
A road that has been decades in the making here for this Hamakua mauka community is now a reality… open to the public after this blessing ceremony held on Saturday.
The new Kalopa Bypass Road is now open, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Paauilo Mauka Kalopa Community Association.
The road now allows folks to bypass the treacherous Sand Gulch, which – as this ride-along with Hamakua councilman Dominic Yagong shows – is no path for the faint of heart.
The 2006 earthquake that rattled the Big Island left the road impassable. The residents of the Kalopa community have since had to take a half-hour detour through Paauilo to come and go. Officials credit the disaster with getting the bypass road on the track to completion.
Another big credit goes to the late Abraham Ramos – well known to the Kalopa community – and the new namesake of the $2.5 roadway. Apelahama is the Hawaiian interpretation of Abraham.
There was a large community turnout for the dedication, including Mayor Billy Kenoi and various department heads. And you know its a special event when it gets a custom song courtesy the talented Ernie Cruz.
July 30, 2011 – Ernie Cruz sings the Apelahama Highway song
When Ernie Cruz plays for a local blessing or dedication, he sometimes pens a customized tune in honor of the event and the folks involved. Here at the opening of the Kalopa Bypass, Cruz sings in honor of Abraham Ramos, namesake of the new Apelahama Road.