Categorized | Opinions

Stene: Mamalahoa Highway (Route 11) Safety Issues

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By Aaron Stene | Special to Hawaii 24/7

There are serious roadway safety issues on Mamalahoa Highway (Route 11) between Kuakini Highway/Queen Kaahumanu Highway Extension intersection and Hawaiian Ocean View Estates. First and foremost, the asphalt pavement is in dire need of being resurfaced for most of this highway. Both the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) and Hawaii County are responsible for maintenance, which they’ve done a poor job over the years.

The poor condition of its pavement pales in comparison to a much larger issue though. There are serious roadway design deficiencies on the highway between Captain Cook and Hawaiian Ocean View Estates. These design deficiencies are amplified by a serious speeding issue that has resulted in many car accidents and fatalities.

I believe HDOT, and to a lesser degree Hawaii County, needs to take action to improve Mamalahoa Highway (Route 11). Firstly, both departments need to evaluate the condition of the asphalt pavement and formulate a multi-year plan to resurface this highway. The HDOT also should evaluate what safety improvements are possible between Captain Cook and Hawaiian Ocean View Estates.

There are a lot of sharp turns between Ho‘okena and Miloli‘i, a distance of 15 miles, that will require the reconstruction of this segment of Mamalahoa Highway. These safety improvements should include expanded shoulder pull off areas. This will aid the police in enforcing the speed limit, especially since there is a lot of people who drive like they’re in the Indy 500.

There is an underlying issue to the chronic speeding though. These scofflaws are stuck in traffic between Henry Street and Kamehameha III Road, so they speed to get home quicker. This is why these safety improvements won’t be complete unless the widening of Queen Kaahumanu Highway Extension/Kuakini Highway proceeds.

These safety improvements won’t come cheap. This is why the legislature needs to allocate enough funding to the HDOT so they can maintain their existing inventory of roads and add capacity.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

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