Motorists Report Honoapi‘ilani Congestion as Lahaina Bypass Phase 1B-2 Opens
Motorists reported delays and congestion on the opening day of the Lahaina Bypass Phase 1B-2 on Monday, despite reports from the state Department of Transportation that traffic is “generally flowing well,” through the traffic signals on both the Bypass and Honoapiʻilani Highway.
Transportation officials say average travel times from the southern terminus in Olowalu to to Keawe Street were 12-14 minutes in the northbound direction and 8-9 minutes in the southbound direction (on the bypass). That did not take into account the backlog of motorists that waited in traffic on their approach to the bypass in either direction, with some reporting a commute time of an hour and thirty minutes from Wailuku to Lahaina.
Transportation officials attributed delays on the Honoapiʻilani Highway in large part to utility work being done at the southern terminus in Olowalu. That work is estimated to be completed in a week and a half.
Another observed delay is motorists getting used to the new traffic patterns. South bound motorists headed towards Kahului are reminded that they can access the bypass at Hōkiokio Place and Kai Hele Kū Street. The Southern Connector Road will be another option when it opens in mid-May.
Northbound motorists that are headed into Lahaina are reminded that the turn from Keawe Street onto the Honoapiʻilani Highway is now a free right turn, meaning that motorists can turn right at any time, except when pedestrians are present, to continue the drive towards Kāʻanapali.
Crews from the state Highways Division say they will continue to monitor traffic conditions over the next three weeks. On Monday, HDOT crews drove the road in the 8, 10 and 11 o’clock hours as part of the monitoring effort.
Transportation officials say they believe conditions will “continue to improve” when utility work is completed and motorists get used to the adjusted traffic patterns.
HDOT is also working to upgrade the traffic signal systems on Maui and is anticipating the Advanced Traffic Management System to be installed on 80 Maui traffic signals by the end of the year.