Kapaa roundabout eyed

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    The intersection of Kuhio Highway and Mailihuna Road is where a roundabout is being proposed.

LIHUE — A roundabout is being proposed for the Kuhio Highway and Mailihuna Road intersection in Kapaa.

The project would include improvements to the Kapaa Stream Bridge and modify an existing private driveway that is at the intersection.

“A new sidewalk on the mauka side of Kuhio Highway would connect to the Mailihuna Road intersection with Kapaa Stream Bridge. The bridge replacement would remove the existing two-span bridge and construct a single-span bridge that is longer and wider than the existing,” said Project Manager Mike Will during a recent Planning Commission meeting.

He said the curved roads and one-way travel around the roundabout eliminate the possibility for T-bone and head-on collisions, improve safety, while also making improvements to the operational aspects of intersection vehicular travel.

The estimated $15 to $20 million project will be funded through Federal Surface Transportation Program funding, matched with state of Hawaii transportation funding.

It is anticipated to begin in early 2019 and is expected to take 1 to 1 1/2 years to finish.

“This project will improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, improve operational deficiencies at the intersection, address existing bridge structural deficiencies and meet current design standards for roadway width, load capacity, bridge railing and transitions and bridge approaches,” Will said.

Tommy Noyes, executive director of Kauai Path, said he supports the project because traffic heading north on Kuhio Highway descends to a slope that leads to a long straightaway along Kealia Beach.

“Those conditions lead to excessive vehicle speed and we know that speed kills in terms of roadway violence, so in an effort to keep our roadways safer, efforts to install traffic calming will reduce traffic fatalities, and a roundabout is the perfect way to do that,” he said.

The roundabout will cause motorists to travel at more sensible speeds. A traffic signal would not necessarily reduce traffic speeds, he said.

“People might speed up trying to get through a yellow light and potentially cause crashes,” he said.

Another cause for concern in that area is the left-hand turn.

“Left-hand turns at Mailihuna Road are more complex than standard intersections and I think one of the most important factors is this is the access and egress from Kapaa High School, so you’re going to have an unusually high number of young drivers there, less experienced, more impulsive and with a higher statistical likelihood of having a crash,” he said.

Kauai resident Felicia Cowden agreed with Noyes regarding the left-hand turn onto Mailihuna Road at the public hearing on the proposal.

“That left-hand turn coming down Mailihuna Road is very difficult with a lot of teenage drivers. I live on the North Shore, I have a lot of teenage friends, I’d like to keep them safe,” Cowden said.

  1. billyjoebob April 2, 2018 2:56 am Reply

    Well as long as Ms. Cowden agrees with this due to her observation of teenagers having a hard time negotiating the intersection…. after all she has a lot of teenage friends. And we needed this information why???
    I sat at the Kealia bus stop everyday for years and watched that area, people go way too fast through there and just plain don’t pay attention. Same with the entrance to the beach.

  2. Charlie Chimknee April 2, 2018 5:28 am Reply

    Aloha, a Roundabout sounds like a great idea for safety as this intersection is one the most dangerous on Kauai. I’m sure I speak for everyone…

    Mahalo Mahalo Mahalo,


  3. Ken April 2, 2018 6:24 am Reply

    Mailihuna.. that’s what that street I drive down every day is called. There’s never been a street sign as long as I’ve lived here. Roundabout or light, something needs to be done, however, a year and a half of construction is a scary thought.

  4. HaloHalo April 2, 2018 8:09 am Reply

    They need a roundabout in front of Kauai Beach Resort too. It would slow traffic and allow much easier access in and out of that area.

  5. chamundi sabanathan April 2, 2018 10:04 am Reply

    It would also be nice to have either a roundabout or a traffic light just makai of the existing one on Olohena Rd. Kahau and Lehua streets both come in from the north at nearly the same point. Bad accident there a few weeks ago.

  6. Lee April 2, 2018 3:14 pm Reply

    Roundabout = Traffic Circle = Great Plan

  7. Lee April 2, 2018 3:15 pm Reply

    Roundabout = Good Idea

  8. Lee April 2, 2018 3:16 pm Reply

    Roundabout = Good Plan

  9. Bluedream April 2, 2018 7:23 pm Reply

    20 million dollars for a roundabout? That is extremely shady. I doubt there will be any oversight whatsoever. Wadda buncha crooks we pay our taxes to.

    1. Steve Martin April 2, 2018 8:27 pm Reply

      Blue dream…. 20 million for this is better spent for it’s results than the hundreds of millions that would be spent on more roads that will not make our traffic any better in comparison.

  10. Steve Martin April 2, 2018 8:18 pm Reply

    Anywhere possible get rid of the signals and build round-a-bouts. We will see immediate better flow of traffic, but first all drivers must take a course on how to drive when involved with a round-a-bout. There are no STOP SIGNS only a yield and the yield means everyone has to show the respect to each other so that we all contribute to better traffic flow. It all boils down to you either for keeping the character and pristine beauty of the island the way it is, or you are in favor of eventually wanting it to look like all the new concrete fronting Lihue to Puhi and the development that will guarantee to happen just like there, and only can if you build more roads. Growth is in inevitable, but there is plenty of room for better traffic management first.

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