Saturday, October 4, 2003

$7.6 million in highway
fixes to span Nanakuli
to Kaena

Construction may begin in February on a $7.6 million project to improve safety on Farrington Highway from Nanakuli to Kaena Point.

The project includes installing concrete median barriers and widening the highway near Maili Point, where a fatal three-car crash occurred in April. Also planned is improving lighting between Ala Hema and Orange streets, where a 60-year-old woman died in July after being struck by a car while jaywalking across the highway at night near Makaha Valley Road.

"I think Farrington Highway is one of the most dangerous highways we have," said state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa (D, Waianae). "I don't think there is any part of it that hasn't had a major accident."

Hanabusa said the improvements are just a first step toward making the highway safer for both pedestrians and motorists.

"Some of these things are long overdue," said state Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Ishikawa.

Ishikawa said the money will also be used to restripe the highway and crosswalks from Nanakuli to the end of the road at Kaena Point State Park, for sidewalk improvements and for safety signs near schools along the highway.

Ishikawa said the state is still waiting for approvals from the federal government before putting the project out to bid in the next month or so. The construction is expected to take about 17 months.

The state is spending $1 million and the federal highway funds will pay for $6.7 million of the cost.

Hanabusa said the priority for the community is placing the concrete barriers along an approximately 1-mile stretch of Farrington Highway between Hakimo and Kaukama roads, where the highway curves around Maili Point.

Both Ishikawa and Hanabusa said the barriers are only a temporary solution.

Hanabusa said the state needs to eventually build a landscaped median to prevent cars from crossing the center line.

She said the state Department of Transportation also needs to come up with a comprehensive plan to improve safety along the entire 17-mile stretch of Farrington Highway from Honokai Hale to Kaena Point.

Hanabusa said the Legislature has approved about $25 million toward improving safety on the highway.

"It's the Department of Transportation's job to study it and identify what the different fixes will be to avoid these catastrophic accidents," she said.



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