Movement toward safer streets in Kapa‘a

LIHU‘E — Efforts toward making the Kawaihau, Hauaala and Mailihuna roads intersections safer continues.

The Kaua‘i County Council discussed the project and received a legal document regarding the issuance of a management and construction right-of-entry permit in Kawaihau between the county and the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources during a special council meeting of the council on Wednesday.

The right of entry is needed for a certification to be issued by the Department of Transportation, Acting County Engineer Troy Tanigawa told the council. The county is working toward a July 5 schedule to have everything submitted to the proper entities.

The project first came about over seven years ago when the public sought improvements to the intersections and hosted a series of workshops. This project is part of a Complete Streets project, which received 80% of funding by the Federal Highway Administration with a 20% county match, includes a roundabout, sidewalks, flashing beacons, medians and sheltered bus stops.

The two-month construction project is anticipated to begin early next year.

This specific part of the construction that the council discussed pertains to two-thirds of an acre near Kapa‘a High School. The county plans to utilize about a tenth of an acre to help build a sidewalk along the county’s property line. The rest will remain a grassy, open space.

A destroyed culvert by the school will also be moved, and a low point by Kawaihau Road will, in the future, capture water.

Vice Chair Ross Kagawa, who has worked at the school, has worked with Rep. Nadine Nakamura to help get paving for the high school’s parking lot. He also thanked the county for recognizing that the sidewalk is a much-needed addition, as many students walk to the school.

In the 2021 budget, the county has allocated $66,672 toward the project.

Since April, the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation has closed traffic on Kuhio Highway near mile marker 10 to address bridge width, load capacity, bridge railing and transitions.

The project is also working on the intersection at Mailihuna Road, including widening, lighting, signing, pavement markings, drainage and traffic signal installation.

Currently, traffic is rerouted onto the temporary Kapa‘a Stream Bridge.


Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or

  1. Betty Ball June 25, 2020 8:05 am Reply

    Flashing beacons, oh boy. Flashing beacons and a forest of signs do not a crosswalk safer. They distract the attention of the driver AWAY from the pedestrian.

  2. Ken Hughes June 25, 2020 11:33 am Reply

    The Kealia bridge area on Kuhio Hwy, and the Kawaihau/Mailihuna/Hauaala intersection at the schools, will be much better when both construction projects are completed. Unfortunately, there are new signs at the triple intersection on Kuhio where Kawaihau, Hauaala and the bypass meet that are going to make the already dangerous intersection difficult to navigate. Currently, there is a new No Left sign on Hauaala when approaching Kuhio Hwy; with Mailihuna closed, this forces drivers to use Kawaihau. After speaking with the supervisor in charge of the federal project, he has agreed to cover up that No Left sign until needed during specific phases of the construction. There is a No Left sign on Kuhio Hwy that is covered up that was intended to stop cars from making a left off Kuhio onto Kawaihau, forcing drivers to make a left on Hauaala, which is too windy and thin for that amount of traffic, but explains the need for the No Left out of Hauaala. There is discussion of preventing left turns from Kuhio Hwy onto Hauaala, forcing all left turns to Kawaihau, but that also is problematic as we have enough traffic we need them both. The Kuhio/Kawaihau/Hauaala/bypass intersection is dangerous and needs attention, especially during the construction projects, but it needs to be managed carefully until the construction projects are complete, then and only then should there be consideration of permanent No Left signs.

  3. Jjjames June 25, 2020 12:07 pm Reply

    Please notice that the article says the Mailehuna intersection will include “traffic signal installation”. Really? I thought it was going to be a stupid roundabout???? Did someone finally come to their senses???

  4. Jjjames June 26, 2020 9:42 am Reply

    Notice that the article mentions “ traffic signal installation “. And no mention the roundabout. Maybe someone finally came to their senses!!!

  5. hauaala road July 20, 2020 2:51 pm Reply

    We live on hauaala road… the cure to this cluster of poor planning is not a litany of no left turn signs.

    1.) The southbound traffic coming into town before the triple intersections needs a stop light. 2.) The original plan was that the by pass is temporary. Address THAT.
    3.) The next plan was to make Hauaala a culdesac. Address that NEXT.

    The NO TURN signs in and out of our home streets ARE NOT WELCOME. We – as crucial stakeholders – were not sought for our take… on a quick fix to very poor planning that will effect only us. STOP tip-toeing … propose the final plan and stick to the plan!

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