$3.6 million makeover

PUHI — Senate President Ronald Kouchi frequently drives on Puhi Road, which means he knows about its condition firsthand. He’s felt the jarring bumps and potholes.

“I use this road, and I’m excited to see all the different companies that are involved in getting Puhi Road repaired,” he said Monday.

Kouchi joined other dignitaries in the groundbreaking ceremony signaling the start of the long-awaited work.

“This has been a long journey to get to this point,” said Lyle Tabata, acting county engineer. “But, if everything goes right, we should be complete early next year.”

Drivers will be pleased.

Repairs are scheduled to start today on the first phase of the $3.6 million Puhi Road rehabilitation project spanning from Kaumualii Highway to Kaneka Street.

“This is the county’s first concrete road project,” said Larry Dill of the state’s Department of Transportation.

The state has no funds in this project, but is a steward of the 80 percent federal funding and 20 percent county funding, he said.

The schedule includes drainage improvements along Leleiona Road starting today. Work hours will be from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

From May 18, excavation work will start at Kaumualii Highway and a concrete pour test strip will be done fronting the Puhi Plaza Village.

Traffic will be limited to one lane at all times as the reconstruction shifts into high gear from June 23 through October.

During this time, only southbound traffic traveling away from Kaumualii Highway will be allowed on Puhi Road. Traffic leaving the Puhi Industrial Park will be detoured to Kaneka Street and Nuhou Street to Kaumualii Highway.

From Oct. 25, work will start on the intersections of Leleiona and Kaneka Street.

Puhi Road has long been a source of angst for drivers because of the rough ride it offers.

“You hear this?” Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. asked Karen Ono who lives in the area. “We’re starting.”

Ono, who has lived with the rumblings of cars and trucks and the complaints from neighbors, was pleased.

“This is so good,” she said. “Finally. Work will start Tuesday. At least I have something to tell all those people who want to know when.”

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