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Second phase of Queen Kaahumanu widening ready to go

Palani Rd and Queen Kaahumanu Hwy intersection

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

The second phase of the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening project is ready to begin. Although the anticipated start date is September, officials are hoping to get going sooner.

The $76 million project, which adds two lanes to the highway between Honokohau Harbor and Kona International Airport, is expected to take 12-18 months, with a tentative completion date of February 2013.

State transportation officials and project leaders attended a public update meeting Tuesday at Kealakehe High School. About 100 residents showed up.

The state Department of Transportation has accepted the design plans and county officials have reviewed the plans.

Goodfellow Brothers regional manager Ed Brown said construction may begin as early as next month.

“We’re ready to go right now,” Brown said. “It’ll provide 80-100 jobs and that’s an all local workforce. We aren’t flying anyone in.”

The work will begin to the northern, or airport, end of the project, Brown said, because new archeological features have been discovered to the southern end, nearer Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.

Officials are working on a mitigation plan for the newly discovered sites, including narrowing the median to reduce the project footprint and protect those sites.

“That’s just a process that needs to be worked through,” Brown said.

Most of the other state and county permits and approvals have been issued, he said.

Six signalized lights are planned.

Other project highlights:

* No road closures are expected. Some intersection work will be done at night. “The goal here was to minimize any impact. All our work zones are going to be separate from the traffic lanes,” Brown said.

* The road will be paved with asphalt.

* Street lights every 120 feet.

* Ten-foot shoulders dedicated to cyclists.

* Native plants for landscaping.

Questions and concerns

* Roadside memorials. Authorities will give families the opportunity to remove them. Remaining memorials will be collected and stored by the DOT.

* Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. Concerns include protecting archialine ponds, mitigating visual and auditory impacts and impacts to ground water.

* People’s Advocacy for Trails Hawaii executive director Laura Dierenfield told the project leaders she was hopeful the cycling lane would be a priority, especially as the highway links Kealakehe High School with Kailua Village.

“It really, truly is a social infrastructure issue,” she said. “This is what Kona needs.”

Officials said that message had been heard loud and clear.

PATH has issued the following statement in support of a safe bike path:

“Imagine how great it would be to get out on a separate pathway in Kona, away from speeding cars, exhaust and noise and go for walk from Makaeo at the Old Kona Airport Park to the Honokohau Harbor, or feel comfortable allowing your child to take a bike ride from any one of the six schools in Kealakehe to get to canoe practice, soccer games and the swim team down in Kailua Village.

“Now imagine having a 17-mile pathway loop that connects you to work, shopping, and errands in North Kona and you have the Queens’ Lei — a proposed 17-mile multi-use pathway that wraps around North Kona, providing a safe place for keiki, kupuna and everyone in between to walk, ride a bike, run, and get around safely.

“The Queens’ Lei is so named because of the two major roadways making up the 17 mile loop are named after two of Hawaii’s great queens: Queen Kaahumanu and Ane Keohokalole, the grandmother of Queen Liliuokalani.

“PATH members have long advocated for a multi-use pathway along the Queen Kaahumanu Highway. In 2003, the pathway became a First Priority Project in the Hawaii Bike Plan (Project 81a).

“Unfortunately, the Kona community was deprived of this pathway in Phase I of the widening when it only went from Henry Street to Palani Road, when it should have gone all the way to Kealakehe Parkway as the bike plan called for.

“When we lost the path in Phase I, PATH reorganized and developed the Queens’ Lei pathway concept to show the tremendous opportunity this facility will provide to North Kona.

“The Queens’ Lei includes Project 81a of the bike plan, as well as other segments called out in the Kona Community Development Plan to create a 17-mile pathway loop.”

— Find out more:
Highway project: www.buildqueenk.com
24-hour hotline: 1-888-440-7988
PATH: www.pathhawaii.org
Queens’ Lei: www.pathhawaii.org/wp-content/…

One Response to “Second phase of Queen Kaahumanu widening ready to go”

  1. Jean Bevanmarquez says:

    Please, oh please, don’t waste $$ by installing an overkill level of street lighting as was done on the Honokohau-Henry Street project. Many are still unlit, blessings be! Where all are lit, it is distractingly over-bright. Just a couple before each intersection would be plenty!

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