Up to $70 million in improvements are proposed for frequently-used island roads and bridges under a state plan between 2004 and 2006.
The improvements outlined in a state Department of Transportation plan are being proposed as public demands for relief from daily traffic congestion increase. Bumper-to-bumper traffic commonly materializes in East Kaua‘i during the morning and evening commute.
State Department of Transportation officials are anticipated to discuss the proposed improvements during a meeting scheduled Aug. 13 in the A, B and C conferee rooms at the state building in Lihu‘e.
Some of the high-priced projects call for $2 million of work at the Kapule Highway and Rice Street intersection, $1 million for the rehabilitation of the Omao Bridge and $1.3 million for the replacement of the Kapaia Bridge.
The federal government is anticipated to provide up to $58 million for the 19 or so projects, with the balance to be covered by Kaua‘i County. The work is expected to be awarded to contractors on a bid basis.
The plan calls for improvement of guardrails and shoulders throughout the island, intersection improvements at Kapule and Kuhio Highway, stabilization of slopes along Kuhio Highway and the construction of a bicycle path on Rice Street and Nawiliwili Roads by state highways during fiscal year 2006.
Other improvements call for a new alternate road from Puhi to Hanama‘ulu, drainage improvements in East Kaua‘i, widening of parts of Kapule Highway that intersect Rice Street and improvements to Maluhia Road in Koloa.
The state plan also calls for the removal of structures islandwide that reduce the mobility and access of physically-handicapped Kauaians and the replacement of the Olohena Bridge (No.1) and the Kapahi Bridge.
Also proposed is a bicycle and pedestrian pathway from Ahukini to Lydgate Park and from Lydgate Park to Kapa‘a.
The two projects would be part of a 16-mile bicycle-pedestrian coastal pathway the county has proposed from Ahukini to Anahola, as way to encourage more recreational use of the East Kaua‘i coastline.
Another $1.7 million would be used for work in rural areas.
How the proposed improvements would march in step with county efforts to ease traffic islandwide is not known.
This year, Kaua‘i County Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura proposed a resolution calling for an integrated land transportation plan intended to significantly reduce traffic congestion on the island.
The resolution also called on Mayor Bryan Baptiste’s administration to work with the DOT to update a Transportation plan produced in 1997 as an integrated land transportation plan.
The council approved the resolution in May. It received widespread public support, including calls for the purchase of more buses and use of bicycles and electrically-powered vehicles.