Categorized | Featured, News

Ground broken for $27.9M southern segment of Mamalahoa bypass

Kahu Brian Boshard leads Mayor Billy Kenoi and a slate of dignitaries in the ceremonial groundbreaking. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Kahu Brian Boshard leads Mayor Billy Kenoi and a slate of dignitaries in the ceremonial groundbreaking. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

Work is expected to begin Monday on the southern segment of the Mamalahoa Highway Bypass, following a blessing and groundbreaking Tuesday.

Mayor Billy Kenoi joined county officials and members of the Kona community for Tuesday’s ceremony, kickstarting the $27.9 million southern segment of the Mamalahoa Highway Bypass.

The new roadway is slated to open in early 2016, Public Works Director Warren Lee said, and will provide relief to motorists traveling through South Kona.

The bypass lies midway between the shoreline and Mamalahoa Highway, and starts at the southern edge of Keauhou, running approximately 3.5 miles to the bottom of Halekii Street below Kealakekua’s Kona Scenic subdivision.

The southern segment will extend the roadway another 2.2 miles from Kealakekua to a new signalized intersection with Mamalahoa Highway in Napoopoo.

Once complete, the entire roadway from Kailua Village to the Napoopoo junction will be known as Alii Drive.

Isemoto Contracting Co. will construct the $14.8 million southern segment of the road and the $13.1 million Napoopoo Road/Mamalahoa Highway intersection.

Lee said the bid – which includes more than $7 million per road mile – was “in the ballpark” and noted the project was funded entirely by Hokulia, via a bankruptcy settlement.

The second phase of the project will reconfigure the junction at Napoopoo Road to better control the flow of traffic. The new intersection will include turn lanes and left-turn pockets.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” Lee said, noting the emphasis will be on safety features such as a retaining wall.

“Thank God it’s finally happening,” said Meg Greenwell, who represented the community and spoke at Tuesday’s ceremony. “Just opening the first half has made an incredible difference for workers commuting from Ocean View and South Kona.”

A large portion of the South Kona community works in either North Kona or South Kohala and commutes daily along Mamalahoa Highway, Kenoi said. The two-lane bypass gives motorists an alternate route between North and South Kona.

Opening this bypass was one of Kenoi’s priorities upon taking office in December 2008. The mayor noted he was involved in talks with Mauka Kona residents to ensure this bypass helps meet the critical need for the transportation infrastructure in West Hawaii.

“The main thing is that people spend more time with their families at home and less time frustrated in traffic,” Kenoi said. “Our job is to alleviate and mitigate that congestion. It’s not about asphalt. It’s about connecting family and friends.”

Kenoi joked that a shorter commute would mean less wear on drivers’ bodies and leave them less irritated.

“It’s a big difference when people get out of their car after 40 minutes instead of two hours,” he said. “There’s a little less aloha after two hours.”

The first segment of the Mamalahoa Highway Bypass opened in 2009 under a temporary agreement with 1250 Oceanside Partners, the developer of Hokulia.

Initially, the bypass was only open in one direction for limited hours.

Even under those conditions, the alternate route alleviated traffic congestion and driver frustration.

The bypass was later opened to allow for two-way traffic for longer hours.

Work on the 2.2-mile section of road is slated to begin Monday, Aug. 4. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Work on the 2.2-mile section of road is slated to begin Monday, Aug. 4. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Mamalahoa Highway Bypass Timeline

1960 – A Mamalahoa Relief Highway was first envisioned in “A Plan For Kona,” a document prepared with community input for the State Planning Office. The plan was transmitted to the Hawaii County Board of Supervisors, the predecessor of today’s Hawaii County Council.

1996 ­– In rezoning the area that would become Hokulia, County ordinances formalized the developer’s agreement with the community to complete the Mamalahoa Highway Bypass from Keauhou to Captain Cook.

1999 – The Environmental Impact Statement for the Mamalahoa Highway Bypass was completed. Developer 1250 Oceanside Partners broke ground on the Hokulia development, the first phase of which included the northern segment of the road.

2008 – The County proposed a number of improvements prior to the opening of the northern segment of the Mamalahoa Highway Bypass. Improvements included work along Alii Drive, along Halekii Street, and on Mamalahoa Highway. These improvements allowed residents to benefit immediately from the northern segment of the bypass before the southern segment was completed.

March 2009 – Under a grant of easement in anticipation of dedicating the road to the County, the northern segment of the Mamalahoa Highway Bypass opened to limited traffic – one lane southbound 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. weekdays only. On March 10, the first day it was open, 650 vehicles took the drive from Keauhou to Kealakekua.

June 2010 – The Mamalahoa Highway Bypass between Keauhou and Halekii Street opened to northbound and southbound traffic from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., 7 days a week.

2012 – The northern segment of the Mamalahoa Highway Bypass and the .8-mile portion of Halekii Street makai of Muli Street was dedicated to the County.

January 2013 – The Mamalahoa Highway Bypass opened daily, 24 hours a day. Restrictions on vehicle types and sizes were removed.

November 2013 – The Hawaii County Council passed a resolution regarding the Mamalahoa Highway Bypass, renaming it Alii Drive.

July 2014 – Ground was broken for the southern segment of Mamalahoa Highway Bypass, which will extend 2.2 miles from the Halekii Street intersection to Mamalahoa Highway at Napoopoo. Roadway work will commence immediately. Work on the Mamalahoa Highway junction at Napoopoo is scheduled to begin in the fall.

2016 – The southern segment of Mamalahoa Highway Bypass is scheduled to open, completing Alii Drive from Kailua to Napoopoo.

One Response to “Ground broken for $27.9M southern segment of Mamalahoa bypass”

  1. Lilsy says:

    I hope and pray that the Dept. of Public Works spends the money to have the roads banked correctly. It would save so many lives. I just don’t understand why we have such bad roads … even bad and unbanked new roads. Surely we can find some money for good engineering and construction.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

 

 

Become a fan on facebook

 

 

Quantcast
%d bloggers like this: