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Mamalahoa bypass opens; caution urged near park

 

 

A driver tests out the Mamalahoa bypass Monday afternoon. (Hawaii247.com photo by Karin Stanton)

 

 

Karin Stanton/Hawaii247.com Contributing Editor

Mamalahoa bypass is now open. Southbound lane. Between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Weekdays, but not holidays. And not for bikes, scooters, mopeds, pedestrians, or vehicles over 3 tons. And it cuts up Halekii Street, rather than extend to Napoopoo Junction.

But, it is open. 

The one-way, afternoon only route will be evaluated after a 60-day test period.

Just drive with extra caution near Kona Scenic Park as children are not used to traffic. They have been using the road stub at the bottom of Halekii Street to play, bike ride, skateboard, and cut across to the park entrance.

County officials are alerting neighbors to the dangers of the traffic and may add a temporary crossing guard, and perhaps schedule a keiki road safety program.

Joyce Adcock, who lives at the bottom of Halekii Street, said she is concerned for the safety of the neighborhood’s children and urged county officials to assign a monitor to the intersection with Muli Street.

“There are a lot of kids who ride bikes, skateboards and walk to the park. They use the speed humps and things to skateboard on and they are in the street,” she said. “Plus, we have a lot of speeders. I’ve been afraid of car even hitting the house. You hear the brakes all the time. It’s all about safety issues.”

The bypass was opened Monday afternoon as a test, prompting the mother of four children – ages 8, 11, 12 and 14 –  to stand on the sidewalk, watching and worrying.

She said she is so concerned about the through-traffic, the family is considering moving.

Also, the small colored round things in the middle of the intersections with Muli Street and Mamao Street are called ‘mini-circles.” You are supposed to drive around them (staying to the right, of course); you are not supposed to drive over them. 

The county takes control of the road each day, under a grant of easement with Oceanside 1250, developer of Hokulia, while the road dedication is in process. 

Drivers can enter the bypass from the end of Alii Drive and exit through Kona Scenic subdivision to reach Mamalahoa Highway. 

The bypass runs north-south and is located midway between the shoreline and Mamalahoa Highway. The northern portion of the bypass starts at the southern edge of Keauhou and runs 3.45 miles to the bottom of Halekii Street in Kealakekua’s Kona Scenic subdivision.

The opening had been delayed to allow completion of safety improvements in Kona Scenic subdivision between Kamehameha III and Kaleiopapa Road in Keauhou Resort and along Alii Drive. These improvements were mandatory before the bypass could open.   

The state first envisioned the bypass in 1979.  

— Find out more:

Hawaii County Projects Update: co.hawaii.hi.us/info/projects….

 

County crews make final adjustments Monday, March 9 to the traffic lights at the south end of the Mamalahoa bypass. (Hawaii247.com photo by Karin Stanton)

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