Dear Mayor Carvalho,
The convoys between Waikoko and Wainiha on the North Shore have gone from an initial necessity to an ongoing, unnecessary headache for those living in Haena and Wainiha. This is an avoidable situation and a waste of taxpayer money to man the convoys.
The road is in fine shape with the exception of two segments that are down to one lane. The one-lane segments could easily be handled by temporary, portable traffic lights. Residents in Haena and Wainiha are used to one-lane bridges anyhow. This is no longer a safety issue since the road is safe to pass and road crews have room to work as people pass slowly by. The upcoming bridge work in Wainiha could be done at night like the original plan rather than during the day when everyone is affected.
The road convoys are a complete inconvenience to both residents and business owners alike. They have made recovery slower since it is so difficult to get contractors in and out of the area. The convoys have interrupted jobs and destroyed businesses.
We have a neighbor on one side who has to waste an extra four hours each day to pick up his son in Kilauea, according to the convoy schedule, and a neighbor on the other side who is out of business until the road opens back up. The road convoys have created a hazardous situation for medical care and ambulances that need to get through. So, the situation is dangerous in addition to inconvenient.
If the whole objective is to keep tourists out, that could be accomplished by a simple “Local traffic only” sign past Hanalei rather than an ongoing convoy.
There should not be discrimination against TVR owners, though. Like other business owners on the North Shore, TVR owners have suffered tremendously, too. Many TVR owners are very dependent upon the rental income to pay the mortgage and home expenses.
Unfortunately, none of the FEMA aid nor State of Hawaii aid is available to TVR owners. Business loss-of-use insurance does not cover TVR owners for road closures and emergency proclamations. So, TVR owners have been left out in the cold and need to get back to some sort of normalcy, too.
I would ask you to end the emergency proclamations and stop the convoys so that some sort of normalcy can return to the residents and businesses of Haena and Wainiha. What started as a natural disaster has turned into a man-made one.
The convoys have interrupted work schedules, school schedules and everything in between. For the sake of everyone, please, please, please cease the emergency proclamations, stop the convoys, and open up Kuhio Highway to Wainiha and Haena to regular local traffic. Mahalo!
Geoff Flint is a homeowner in Haena.