Traffic signal in Kilauea?

LIHUE — Kuhio Highway may see a new traffic signal in Kilauea.

Or a four-way stop sign.

Or even a roundabout, which would be the first such traffic calming device on a state highway.

All those options are on the table, and the Kilauea Neighborhood Association wants to know which, if any, residents and commuters would prefer.

“There’s a concern for traffic coming out of Kilauea,” said Yoshito L‘Hote, president of the Kilauea Neighborhood Association, the organization hosting a presentation by the Department of Transportation on Tuesday to address possible traffic control devices on the highway.

The idea was kicked around last year, and while there are three roads that access the highway in that area, the focus of the meeting will be on the intersection at the Kalamania Road intersection where the Shell gas station sits. It was at previous KNA board meeting that the idea of a roundabout was first brought up.

Traffic is a concern for some people in the area, where turning on and off the highway can be dangerous when traffic is heavy.

But before anything is decided, an analysis will have to be done.

Derek Inoshita, Department of Transportation administrative assistant, said the state will conduct a study of traffic along the highway around the intersection before determining if signalization is possible. That study would look factors such as traffic volume, average speeds, capacity and even if a roundabout would be a feasible option — which, if it was, would make it the first on a state highway.

If that study says the intersection would benefit from a signal and the project is green-lighted, then the project could start late next year, he said. An estimate of costs wasn’t available.

“We’re just looking specifically at that one,” Inoshita said of the intersection. “That’s the one the community is asking for.”

According to the Hawaii State Info website, 2,248 people reside in Kilauea, which is 1.5 square miles.

Residents had different opinions on whether a traffic light would benefit the area.

“Certain times it would be more helpful, but I hate to see any stoplight being installed,” said Kilauea resident Dianna Howard. “There are different alternatives which need to be explored, such as lowering the speed limit and educating people how to be better drivers.”

The intersection is an access point to the 40 mph stretch of road that leads to the popular Sen. Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge.

Others were more emphatic that a light wasn’t the answer.

“No lights,” Jesse McCann of Kilauea said simply when asked if he’d like to see anything done there.

“Just keep it Kauai. Less cars — we have too many rental cars on the road and not enough buses,” agreed Steve Pastore of Haena.

A lot of work has to be done before anything is decided, L’Hote said, and the meeting is just one step in the process. Tree-trimming projects are scheduled to happen along the highway this year as well.

“I think it’s a very important decision for Kilauea,” L’Hote said.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Kilauea Neighborhood Center.


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