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Honoapi‘ilani Work at Keawe Street to Commence on Tuesday

January 15, 2018, 6:30 PM HST · Updated January 15, 6:30 PM
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The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation issued a notification saying crews plan to begin construction improvements on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018 on the Honoapiʻilani Highway from Keawe Street to Kapunakea Street in Lahaina.

Maui Now graphic. Photo: Hōkiokio access to Lahaina Bypass via Honoapiʻilani Highway. PC: by Wendy Osher.

The section of road has been a point of contention among local government leaders and department officials.  Last week, State Rep. Angus McKelvey called on the governor to intervene, saying it would lead to negative impacts including more traffic congestion in West Maui.  Officials with the Department of Transportation defended their stance in carrying out the project saying the criticism directed toward the department is “ill-informed.”  Rep. McKelvey fired back on Friday, reasserting his plea to halt last minute changes to the Keawe Street area of the Honoapiʻilani Highway.

The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation today issued an update saying it will continue to communicate with the public regarding plans to open the latest phase of the Lahaina Bypass between the project’s southern terminus in Olowalu and Hōkiokio Place in March 2018. 

“The Lahaina Bypass has a long history and a demonstrated need,” said State Administrative Director FordFuchigamiFrom the inception of the project in the early 1990s the Lahaina Bypass was intended both to realign the coastal highway for its protection and to increase roadway capacity to the vibrant destination that was, at onetime, the historic capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom.” 

DOT officials say large capacity projects, such as the Lahaina Bypass, are typically phased due to funding limitations and availability. As the phases are completed they are opened to the public. Seeking to accommodate the anticipated volume of vehicles traveling from the bypass’s beginning in Olowalu to the interim northern terminus at Keawe Street, HDOT designed modifications to the intersection of Honoapiʻilani Highway and Keawe Street. These modifications include:

  • Addition of a free right turn from Keawe Street to Honoapiʻilani Highway northbound to move vehicles off Keawe Street more efficiently. 
  • Conversion of the Mauka through lane on Honoapiʻilani Highway northbound into a right turn lane ontoKeawe Street to safely accommodate the free right turn. 
  • Addition of a left turn, for a total of two left turn movements, from Honoapiʻilani Highway southbound onto Keawe Street. 

The work to modify the Honoapiʻilani Highway and Keawe Street intersection, with the official title of Honoapiʻilani Highway Improvements – Keawe Street to Kapunakea Street, will begin Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. 

“While we believe opening the latest phase of the Lahaina Bypass to traffic in conjunction with the modifications to the highway’s intersection will have benefits to the community as well as our visitors, we are committed to continuing to monitor traffic patterns after the opening and will make adjustments based on observations and community feedback,” said HDOT Deputy Director for Highways Ed Sniffen. 

“Governor Ige and I understand the community’s concerns regarding access to Honoapiʻilani Highway and the bypass’s current end at Keawe Street,” Fuchigami said. “That’s why HDOT leadership and I will be meeting with the Maui Council Chair Mike White, Council Members Don Guzman and Elle Cochran, Maui County Department of Public Works Director David Goode, State Legislators, community representatives, and a representative from the office of Mayor Arakawa. We will work collaboratively with the county to ensure there is a clear understanding of local issues and the roles and responsibilities in the management of Honoapiʻilani Highway, the bypass, and their connector roads. 

According to department officials, HDOT will send weekly updates on the Lahaina Bypass Phase 1B2 and the Honoapiʻilani Highway Improvements –Keawe Street to Kapunakea Street to the community with the next update to detail the results of the meeting with the county and the plan to collect and address community concerns as practical. Additional community outreach to discuss project improvements is also planned. 

According a message issued by the DOT, the work, which includes trenching and installation of new traffic signal conduits, will be conducted daily from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Night work between 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. may be incorporated depending on observed traffic during construction. A notice will go out if night work is necessary.

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Traffic control will be on-site whenever there are lane shifts or closures for this project. One thru lane and one right turn lane will remain open on Honoapiʻilani Highway northbound throughout the project, with the left turn lane closing only when work at the entrance to the mall is taking place.

The left turn and thru lane of Honoapiʻilani Highway southbound will be open for the duration of the project with the right turn movement closing only when work at the entrance to the mall is taking place. Keawe Street westbound will have two lanes open and Keawe Street eastbound will have one lane open throughout construction.

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