Big Island traffic projects in progress
What ever happened to efforts to fix the traffic snarl in Kona?
Answer: Traffic on Queen Kaahumanu Highway north of Kailua-Kona has been described as "horrible," backing up for miles during rush hours, and traffic on Mamalahoa Highway into South Kona is equally bad.
The state Department of Transportation and the county Department of Public Works are working on projects north, south and mauka of Kailua-Kona.
To the north, the state is seven months into a 27-month, $30.8 million project to widen 2.8 miles of "Queen K." But that will leave 5.2 miles of the stretch to Keahole airport still to be started.
With completion of the total eight miles off in the future, Mayor Harry Kim's concurrency* on development along the highway will remain in place for the remaining two years of his administration, said Public Works head Bruce McClure.
To the south, Public Works employees next week will start $2.7 million in miscellaneous improvements, especially left-turn lanes, in the general area of the landmark Manago Hotel. Those will improve traffic "a great deal," McClure said.
More relief could come from use of the completed portion of the 5.5-mile "Mamalahoa Bypass" through the Hokulia project, and the Public Works Department is working with the developer to change a county ordinance to make the usage possible, McClure said.
On Palani Road, which enters Kailua-Kona from a mauka area, $3.5 million in safety improvements are planned to start in January, with 80 percent of the funding being federal. Palani is not a high-speed highway, so traffic there will not go faster, but it will go smoother, McClure said.
Tuesday, August 1, 2006
» When referring to Big Island Mayor Harry Kim's policy of temporarily restricting new development along Queen Kaahumanu Highway in Kona, Public Works head Bruce McClure used the word "concurrency." A story on Page A2 Saturday used the word "moratorium."
This update was written by Rod Thompson.
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