Big Island is No. 1 in perilous state roads
HILO » Ten of the 11 most dangerous state-maintained intersections or stretches of roadways in Hawaii are on the Big Island, according to a state report.
A roughly 1-mile stretch of the Pahoa bypass, which has three intersections, has the worst accident rate in the state, according to the state Department of Transportation "5 Percent Report."
The report, required by the federal government, lists at least 5 percent of the locations in the state currently exhibiting the most severe highway safety needs. It uses the latest three years of data available and only examines roadways maintained by the state. County roads are not included.
Of the 107 intersections examined statewide, the three worst are on the Pahoa bypass at Kapoho-Pahoa Road, Kahakai Boulevard and Old Pahoa Road.
The state is planning to install traffic signals at Kapoho-Pahoa Road and Kahakai Boulevard, which is expected to make the areas safer.
The other intersections listed are on Queen Kaahumanu Highway at Waikoloa Beach Drive and at Hinalani Street.
The state rarely releases accident data, due to the possibility of getting sued, but federal law prohibits the reports from being used in litigation.
State Transportation Department spokesman Scott Ishikawa said one reason for the disproportionate number on the Big Island is a small population driving longer distances than people on Oahu.
He said the accident rate takes into account the number of vehicles using an intersection or on a highway. Those numbers are much higher on Oahu, making the accident rate lower. If only the number of accidents were considered, nearly all the repair money would be spent on Oahu, "which would not be fair for the neighbor islands," Ishikawa said.