Part 3 of 4
by David Corrigan and Sherry Bracken
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii: With the running of the 2011 Ironman, Alii Drive becomes a global stage for hundreds of dramatic endings; many lifelong dreams culminate in this emotional crossing of the finish line.
But this year, a dramatic finish of a different kind took place on Alii Drive.
With just weeks to go, Hawaii County pushed forward to complete repairs on the 450 foot walkway near Kailua Pier… which for months has been blocked off with yellow tape, after the March 11 tsunami battered the west side of the island.
These were the images from the day that kona suffered the damaging effects of the 9.0 earthquake near the east coast of Honshu that devastated Japan.
The sight of waves pouring over the famous breakwall became known across the country… leaving this important stretch of the Ironman race a crumbled mess of rock and asphalt.
For seven months this path has been nothing but gravel – the project was completed just in time for the world class athletes to trample through.
One month to go before the Ironman, the Kona based Bolton, Inc. worked to replace the sidewalk under a $100,000 bid contract. The county expects to be reimbursed for the expense of the project by Federal Emergency Management Agency.
A big finish, in time for the big finish.