Updated: Sep 22, 2020
I recently met with Ed Sniffen, the Deputy Director of the State Highways Division (DOT) to catch up on several ongoing projects and concerns. Our Senate district stretches more than 50 miles by highway from Kaena to Kaneohe. Needless to say, I drive a lot of miles, regularly circling the island, from Waialua to Honolulu to Kaneohe and around the windward coast and North Shore. Concerns and issues vary by community, but we are all connected by one primary roadway.
The Laniakea Traffic Alternatives Project began in 2010 when Mr. Sniffen held this same position. The project languished after he stepped away from the department in 2011, but I am hopeful that with his return, Ed will get the project back on track. The DOT recognizes that the parking barriers were only meant to provide temporary traffic relief. Look for the task force meetings to resume in the coming months.
One of the most frustrating events for our windward residents is to drive 30-45 minutes towards Kaneohe, only to learn that the highway is closed by flooding at Waikane or a car accident, or other event. They then have to drive all the way back and around the North Shore, spending hours to get to where they need to be.
In 2012, I began asking the DOT for electronic road signs along Kamehameha Highway to notify drivers of road conditions ahead. The department is now in the process of acquiring a number of signs that may serve this purpose. Please let me know if you have any thoughts on the best locations for up to three signs between Laie and Kaneohe, in both directions.
An ongoing concern for our Kahuku High and Intermediate Students is the mud puddles they have to negotiate when they get off or board the school bus. Earlier this year, the DOT agreed to my request to pave as much as possible of the drop off area when they resurface Kamehameha Hwy. through Kahuku this summer.
Governor Ige recently proclaimed an emergency for the highway near Crouching Lion in Kaaawa because the makai lane was collapsing into the sea. A project is now underway to preserve the roadway without expanding it seaward. To complete the work as quickly as possible, the highway will be reduced to one alternating traffic lane for up to three months, regulated by a temporary traffic light.
The bridges along Kamehameha Highway are very old, many dating to the 1930s. The South Kahana Bridge is next up for replacement and community consultation has begun. Several other bridges through the corridor may begin construction in the next several years. Some of the other traffic issues we are addressing include a traffic study within Laie to reduce speeding and possibly add speed humps on the roads near the school and improving visibility for drivers existing Kawailoa Rd.