Contraflow plan divides Windward residents
The state will study adding a third lane to Kahekili Highway
Kahaluu residents say adding a rush-hour contraflow lane to Kahekili Highway would be an invitation for more development.
Kaneohe residents hope it will promise a quicker commute.
Now, the two communities are poised to be at odds as the proposal progresses -- in the form of a $300,000 state transportation study.
"They want the country to remain country," said George Okuda, chairman of the Kahaluu Neighborhood Board. "I know it will contribute to traffic. Whether it will contribute to development, I don't know."
Last night, Kahaluu residents crowded into the Kahaluu Community Center to hear a presentation from the state Transportation Department on the addition of a third lane to Kahekili Highway between Haiku and Ahuimanu roads.
The lane would be open for morning and afternoon rush-hour traffic.
State Transportation Director Rod Haraga stressed last night that the proposal is still in the planning stages and any construction, if it were to be approved, is years off.
But Kaneohe residents are already strongly behind the proposal.
"Going toward the Kahuku direction, the volume is really heavy," said Paul Friel, a member of the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board, which heard from the state Transportation Department on the proposal last month.
"I could see where it helps, but somebody's going to be inconvenienced."
Russ Oberther says he's dead-set against any change that will help development spring up in Kahaluu. He has lived in the community since 1992, and says he's seen dramatic changes since then.
"The country's going to be turned into California," he said. "If they add the contraflow, it's going to lead to more development.
"All you can do is come down here and try to stop it."
Discussion of the proposed traffic work came after a tense, hour-long question-and-answer session with the developer of a planned 47-lot subdivision in Kahaluu, which will be called "Woods at Ahuimanu." Aiello Development Group wants to build homes starting at $800,000 on 10,000 square-foot lots.
Some 50 residents opposed to the development attended the meeting, saying they want to keep the character of Kahaluu "country" and are concerned about what a large development will mean for runoff and traffic.