PRINCEVILLE — The proposed Hanalei Valley Viewpoint shift is up for discussion over the next few days.
“We’re definitely looking for the community to come out and provide feedback, ask questions and listen,” said Jennifer Waipa of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
USFWS will be hosting community meetings on the project Monday and Tuesday night in conjunction with the state Department of Transportation and County of Kauai.
Monday night’s meeting will be at Princeville Community Center’s Aloha Room from 5 to 7 pm. Tuesday’s meeting will be in Hanalei at Hale Halawai in the Aloha Pohai Room from 4 to 7 p.m.
Construction is set to begin in the fall of 2018 on the new, two-lookout viewpoint, which is an opportunity to increase education opportunities, wildlife viewing and preservation of cultural heritage, according to USFWS.
That’s especially important because the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge is closed to the public, according to Waipa.
“There are limited opportunities for us to share that story, and that’s what I’m excited for about this site,” she said.
Streamlining traffic along Kuhio Highway is another advantage to building the new Hanalei Valley Viewpoint, as the site will include new acceleration and deceleration lanes.
“People will be able to continue on as they normally would, and anyone turning in or coming off from the location would be able to do so safely,” Waipa said.
In the future, the site could potentially also be used as a park and ride, or transit hub for the North Shore. There are no plans for that option in the works.
“The location is really nice because there’s no interference with the Ka Haku intersection,” Waipa said. “It’s back closer towards Kilauea from the Princeville entrance.”
The proposed lookout is planned with two viewpoints with seating and signage that explains the community and cultural history of the North Shore.
Space for 22 cars is planned, as well as bus parking, along with a concrete pad that could house portable toilets, and a concrete walking trail.
The project is expected to cost about $3 million in total for basic site improvements. The money is coming from a combination of USFWS funds, HDOT money, legacy funds, and $700,000 in grant money from the federal Transportation Alternatives Program.
“This is a gateway to the rest of the North Shore, and I think it’s a prime spot to be able to highlight that,” Waipa said.