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Stene: Questions around Queen K project

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Special to Hawaii 24/7 by Aaron Stene

The West Hawaii community deserves an update on the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening project. The state Department of Transportation and Federal Highways Administration are keeping the ongoing Section 106 consultation process under wraps, so the community is essentially blacked out.

I understand the discussions between the Native Hawaiian Organizations and the FHWA/HDOT are strictly confidential. However, this restriction doesn’t stop them from telling our politicians wildly fluctuating project start dates.

For example, the HDOT director told Sen. Josh Green the project would begin June a few months ago. Then a few days ago Rep. Denny Coffman announced the project would begin in September. What gives???

The widening of Queen Kaahumanu Highway was supposed to be completed about three years ago. However, this project has faced a litany of challenges ranging from two unsuccessful bid protests and the ongoing Section 106 consultations.

The latter process, which has dragged on for 18 months, HDOT and FHWA are doing a poor job keeping the public informed. The poster child for this is the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening website. HDOT hasn’t updated it since Sept. 25, 2012.

The current status quo of hiding behind a cloak of secrecy is not
acceptable. FHWA and HDOT need to engage the community and provide genuine updates regarding where things stand with this project.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

One Response to “Stene: Questions around Queen K project”

  1. Graystash says:

    Do you really think things get done in Hawaii !! All the $$ get’s eaten up on court cost and things that have nothing to do with building a road. Year’s go by and then the cost is way beyond the $$ that was allotted !!

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