Maui coastal road
could move inland

It might take officials up to
two years to determine a new route

LAHAINA, Maui >> State transportation officials plan to move a large portion of the main coastal road south of Lahaina farther away from the shoreline.

Ronald Tsuzuki, the state's head highways planning engineer, said transportation officials will take at least a couple of years to determine the location of the new route between the Lahaina pali and Launiupoko park.

Tsuzuki's announcement comes as separate proposals for alternative routes are being proposed by Maui County and a group of landowners. The state Highways Division is also holding a series of public hearings to prioritize road construction on Maui and other islands.

State transportation officials are distributing a description of various proposals for road improvements on Maui and asking residents to fill out a survey listing their preferences.

Tsuzuki said state transportation officials will be working with Maui County and private landowners in assessing the best mauka route south of Lahaina.

Tsuzuki said establishing the location of the route was important so that landowners do not develop houses on the corridor. Some residents have supported moving Honoapiilani Highway further mauka, as ocean waves have continued to erode portions of the two-lane highway, sometimes slowing traffic.

Maui Planning Director Michael Foley said the county's proposed corridor between Launiupoko and the Lahaina pali ranges from 300 to 800 feet away inland, and the strip of coastal land between the ocean and new road would be used for a regional park.

Foley said the existing highway would be used as a bikeway and for parking, and the park would permit a mixture of uses at various locations, including camping.

Foley said a group of landowners has proposed locating the corridor further mauka and allowing some new houses on the makai side of the new road.

Susan Bradford, representing the nonprofit Maui Coastal Land Trust, said the state should give the project a high priority and move as quickly as possible in determining the route because sales of mauka properties are increasing.

"It's moving very quickly, so I think it's very important to put it at the top of that list," she said.

Also important is a bypass road to relieve traffic on Lahainaluna Road where there are three public schools, residents said. Tsuzuki said an overwhelming number of West Maui residents have testified that the state should proceed with plans for a limited Lahaina bypass through Ikena Avenue from Lahainaluna Road to Keawe Street, mauka of Lahaina Cannery Mall.


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