• Keep on writing
• Need permanent Wailua to Hanama’ulu bypass
• No EIS should be required
Keep on writing
It is so wonderful to have people who care so much that they are taking the time to write to the forum in The Garden Island.
Thank you very much Mr. Victor Rodriguez and Mr. Stephen Shioi (TGI letters on Saturday). We need more people like you to protect this beautiful island that we call our home.
I have been here 30-plus some years and like you noticed how bad and dangerous this island traffic is becoming. No wonder the tourists are getting so upset when they missed their planes when returning home.
I do not know the victims of this tragic accident, (but like Mr. Shioi said, it could be prevented if we all take the time to drive to our destination) but I feel as you both do, lot of sorrow and sadness, even some frustration.
Also a big mahalo to Glenn Mickens for all the work you do to keep us informed and our toes for what is happening and what we all should know. Keep on writing.
Need permanent Wailua to Hanama’ulu bypass
Our elected officials should have acted long ago to open a bypass road from the Wailua River to Hanama’ulu using existing haul cane roads.
They would have had to pave 11.9 miles, add guard rails, striping, signage, etc. As with the Kapa’a bypass, that could have been done in months. Had they done so, we would have a convenient alternative to that stretch of Kuhio Highway some call blood alley.
Instead, the state DOT has been studying the Kapa’a Relief Route through the corridor between Hanama’ulu and Kapa’a for at least 14 years. In 1994 they started a study which identified up to 10 possible alternatives. The study was put on hold in 1995. They resumed project planning in January of 2002 with the intent of finishing and having a final EIS by the end of 2004.
They winnowed the study down to six alternatives, of which only four would add new traffic lanes.
One was to widen Kuhio Highway to four lanes. Three would build new roads inland to provide true alternatives to Kuhio.
Some might use segments of haul cane roads but all involved significant new right of ways and major new construction. Each would be expensive and require substantial state and federal funding, automatically putting us into a long queue. Think decades before project completion.
In spite of suggestions by the public, an option based on using existing haul cane roads as much as possible was not included. That study is grinding on with a current goal of completion early in 2009.
In the meantime, traffic has grown steadily worse. The morning contraflow lanes help a lot but they are labor intensive and expensive. (Hats off to the hard working crews who face danger every minute they are out there.)
Our late Mayor Brian Baptiste worked closely with state officials to try to get a fourth lane on the bridges across the Wailua River, and to widen Kuhio Highway from there northward to the Kapa’a bypass road. It appears that the state and county coalition may make that happen soon.
Assuming that does come to pass, paving haul cane roads to create a true alternative to Kuhio Highway in the corridor makes more sense than ever. There may be better routes, but one I identified would involve 11.9 miles of pavement as noted above.
That compares to the more direct 7.6 miles on Kuhio. Like the Kapa’a bypass, the route winds through former sugar cane fields so we could expect 35 mph speed limits. That would take a little over 20 minutes.
That may seem long compared to 9 minutes at 50 mph on Kuhio. Our experience is that southbound afternoon traffic often goes about 40 mph maximum, and frequently much slower, to say nothing of dead stops when there has been an accident, fire or other emergency.
The intersections with Kuhio at both the north and south ends of the bypass present design challenges if they are to handle large volumes of traffic efficiently.
I would urge DOT to take that into consideration as they work to put the fourth lane across the Wailua River. With the bypass in place, DOT could consider a number of options. They might eliminate the third lane on Kuhio to widen the other two lanes and the shoulders. That would also eliminate the cost and danger of contraflow.
Or, if adding a fourth lane to Kuhio is their selected long-term fix, the bypass would take the pressure off of what would otherwise be a nightmare during construction on Kuhio.
In closing, it is past time to implement the obvious while we wait decades for the more elegant fix that has been under study for so long.
No EIS should be required
I would like to respond to Dennis Chaquette’s letter (responding to one of my letters) in Sunday’s The Garden Island, “EIS is subject.”
My point is simple, I am environmentalist, I do not even own a car, by choice, I bicycle and bus everywhere on this cosmic island of ours. I cannot remember when the last time I bought gas or oil.
Most people drive alone in their cars, however to single out the Superferry and put restrictions on them is what is unfair, discriminatory, anti-American and unconstitutional, period, exclamation point.
The Superferry is a form of mass transit, let’s look at all the hypocrites screaming for an EIS who drive their gas drinking cars everywhere. They demand an EIS for the Superferry but no EIS for other mass transit forms of transportation, or their own island beater cars.
My point has always been that you cannot single out the Superferry, if you are going to demand the Superferry to have an EIS, then demand it of the airlines, cruise ships, freighters, cargo vessels, fishing boats and fancy yachts.
If all forms of mass transportation are grounded, I would call it fair play, however to single out a state of the art ferry vessel that is probably safer than flying, cruising or the car you drive is my point.
In conclusion, no EIS should be required of the voluptuous “Alakai” Superferry if competitors do not have to play by the same rules.
James “Kimo” Rosen