• A look into Kauai’s future • Mauka road could provide Kuhio Highway traffic relief
A look into Kauai’s future
2015 headlines we may see if things keep going the same way:
w Spokesperson for Vacation Resorts Inc. announced yesterday that several mini motels will be built along the Kapaa corridor to serve the overnight needs of drivers trapped in 24/7 traffic gridlock. “We thought it would be a lucrative idea since the market is there and needs to be served,” the spokesperson stated in a formal press release.
– Kauai Emergency Services announced that its personnel will begin dropping food and other household supplies at several drop centers in Wailua Homesteads and Kapahi neighborhoods. “Since people can’t get down to Kapaa to buy food because of the traffic, we decided it was an urgent need to get food and supplies to them,” stated an emergency spokesperson.
– Kauai County Council members struggled through several days of meetings to pass a bill which would place hundreds of plastic fish along Kauai shorelines. “The tourists need to see something out there, since natural fish populations have severely declined,” stated one council member.
– Overshadowing all other news, a spokesperson for Native Hawaiians stated, “After decades of shoddy treatment, we are thoroughly annoyed. We have called on the Powers of the Ancestors to restore and balance all energies of the Hawaiian Islands.” Upon hearing this announcement, several high-ranking officials in the government broke into a cold sweat and fainted. Several had to be taken to emergency rooms for overnight observation.
Mauka road could provide Kuhio Highway traffic relief
My wife was one of the thousands seriously inconvenienced by a recent closure of Kuhio Highway. She was southbound from Kapaa, heading for a doctor’s appointment in Lihue, when traffic came to a complete stop. She was unable to move her car for at least an hour and a half. She finally got to Wilcox. Her doctor made room in his schedule for her.
Then a double whammy. When she left Wilcox, she got stuck in a northbound jam for another frustrating hour and a half.
Kauai is fortunate that it has been quite a while since the last closure of Kuhio in that corridor. Kudos to the Kauai Police Department and the state DOT for their accident prevention efforts. That said, it is only a matter of time before we have another such closure with accompanying misery.
Most of said misery is preventable. We need a separate bypass road through the corridor mauka of Kuhio Highway. Thanks to Mayor Bryan Baptiste’s vision and perseverance, we don’t need a new bridge. We have four traffic lanes across the Wailua.
The county Department of Public Works has been studying a possible mauka road from the Wailua bridges to Lihue, using existing haul cane roads to create such a bypass. The shortest option would rejoin Kuhio Highway at Maalo Road and require about 5.5 miles of paving. The study anticipates that additional segments might be added after the initial build.
The mauka road should be planned for expansion but the initial build should be two lanes to reduce the initial cost and get it built sooner. Similarly, if the southern terminus could be at the Roberts base yard, only about 4 miles of pavement might be needed. It should be open 24/7. The intersections at each end should be designed to help drivers choose the most convenient path. The need for traffic cones on Kuhio might be eliminated. Two more lanes and a multi-use path could be added later.
I attended a public meeting describing this study on May 21, 2014. I’ve been going to similar Eastside traffic meetings for well over 20 years. This was the most encouraging one yet. Now we need the leadership and political will to finally make the mauka road a reality.