Lingle okays $8 million for Maui highway improvement

HONOLULU — Gov. Linda Lingle released nearly $8 million in construction funds to continue the widening of Mokulele Highway from a two-lane undivided highway to a four-lane divided highway between Kuihelani Highway and Pi‘ilani Highway on Maui, a press release from her office states.

Of the $7,814,277 released, $1,604,277 will be used for the widening portion between the vicinity of the Maui Humane Society to the vicinity of Kolaloa Bridge. The balance, $6,210,000, will be used to widen the highway from Kealia Pond Driveway to Pi‘ilani Highway. These are the last of five phases, the release states.

As the main routes from South Maui to the Kahului Airport, Mokulele Highway and Pu‘unene Avenue are prone to congestion and major traffic jams should a severe accident occur. The widening project aims to increase safety and vehicle capacity between Maui’s primary urban center of Wailuku-Kahului and the rapidly expanding regions of Kihei, Wailea and Makena, the release states.

“Traffic relief remains one of the top issues for Maui County and a major priority of my administration,” the governor states in the release. “This project will meet current and future traffic demands and anticipated growth in South Maui, while creating a safer roadway for commuters, visitors and the community in general.”

The total project cost is $43,755,900, which includes $8,737,000 in state funds, $34,948,000 in federal funds and $70,900 in other funds, the release states.

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