Alternate east-west route needed now

A long-overdue alternate route for Kaua‘i’s traffic from Lihu‘e to the Westside needs to be implemented now!

As my daughter, her husband, his mother and their 7-month and 3-year-old were on their way to our Christmas Eve get-together in Wailua, we got the dreaded call. There had been an accident — AGAIN! — that was snarling the traffic for hours and hours.

Thanking God they were all right and not a part of the tragic outcome, we thought about just how many lives were being affected simply because there is no alternate route to pass through that area. This is not the first time plans of ours have been squelched due to an accident in this same area. It certainly is time the county make adjustments for situations like this Christmas-Eve tragedy.

Last year this time friends of ours missed their flight due to a senseless accident again near Halfway Bridge. Shame on the county government for not coming up with a solution to this tragic-but-real problem. They cannot continue to have that many people’s lives affected because of a two-car accident.

Let’s get real. Open those cane roads on these extreme occasions like they do from Kapa‘a to Lihu‘e. To have to wait four to five hours as things get measured and cleaned up is absurd! And we all know these types of tragedies will continue to occur.

Also, why not designate a policeman or appropriate person to either bull-horn or somehow communicate to all the unfortunate persons who are trapped in these unforeseen circumstances so they can either tum around or seek refuge somewhere else rather than having to sit and wait, not knowing what is going on up ahead.

Not everyone has a cellphone or the ability to call the radio while driving (thought that was a law!). The response regarding Westside car accidents has always been an issue, but come on. 2021 is the year to fix this delicate-but-very-serious problem!

Don’t use money as an excuse, either, as all Kaua‘i’s communities that were affected on Christmas Eve have a right to expect alternate routes under these extreme and tragic circumstances!

Finally, our hearts and prayers go out to the persons affected by the Christmas Eve tragedy car accident!


Pua Beach is a resident of Anahola.

  1. Reality Bites January 4, 2021 2:41 am Reply

    “Perspective” is always a good thing to have in life. First, never bring yourself in to the argument or debate….”me, me, me,…now, now, now…I’m on fire, put me out”. SMH.

    “Traffic” on this island,…. getting back to perspective, is drama where there is no drama. You need to live somewhere else to appreciate the “traffic” we have on this island. You are using an isolated incident of missing a plane as melodrama.

    The issue is the fact, …..when there is an accident, the roads are too narrow to allow traffic to pass.

    You touched a bit on safety, and a little bit on communication.

    If we can send a “missile attack” text to cell phones on the islands, then we can send “accident on the highway” via text…..immediately. There is no excuse for the County Government. This is incompetence.

    The long term issue is safety. The highway needs to be at least 3 lanes…..everywhere. Making a left turn, with a ton of traffic, is an accident waiting to happen. Likewise, merging on to the highway via a center lane would be safer than crossing two opposite lanes. Alas, the county government cannot see past Friday, and this will take 100 years, when only a true crisis will make this happen, like a 3 mile section is washed out to sea.

    1. Eh January 4, 2021 3:44 pm Reply

      Having a 3 lane highway here on Kauai is useless because Kauai residents don’t know how to drive when there is an extra lane. Go to other states and people know stay on the right side, use the middle for passing. Here on Kauai we have two big trucks going 30 driving side by side and a huge line of cars behind.
      Sure we need more options for routes, but the main problem is with drivers not the roads.

    2. Thinkkauai January 4, 2021 11:21 pm Reply

      County is not responsible for STATE HIGHWAYS. The state is. It is a state issue. How do you propose to have 3 lane highways in areas that can barely fit two lanes due to mountains or small bridges? Or maybe you don’t notice all the small bridges that exist ?

      It’s not so simple.

  2. Citizen Cane January 4, 2021 3:54 am Reply

    A thoughtful comment indeed, and as a 33 year South Shore resident I’ve been beating this drum for many years. The highways are simply unsafe and inefficient. I can attest to previous accidents at that same Gap area, and repeated unacceptable delays and fatalities in many trouble spots from just Maluhia Rd. into town. From years of off-road experience I can also say that area of the island has ‘choke’ cane roads of the kind you speak that lead practically everywhere and which could provide roadbeds for paved alternate routes—if only there were the political will to work with the stakeholders. Along this corridor there are no business that would be deprived of patronage due to re-routed drive-by traffic, such as exists in the Kapaa-Wailua corridor. And with the demise of cane, and highways flanked by fallow cane fields everywhere there’s no excuse to keep endangering and losing lives of our loved ones and causing inconvenience and delays. It’s long past time to work toward two-lane divided highways, and alternate routes such as cane road diversions or even widening the Kipu tunnel to provide quick access to the airport for the Poipu visitor population, which could greatly alleviate traffic on our current over-taxed arteries.

    1. Kaaona Kipuka January 4, 2021 9:08 pm Reply

      Wow!!! A whole 33 years huh… Congratulations… smh..

      1. Peter January 5, 2021 6:35 pm Reply

        What’s up with the snarly remark.
        The man expressed himself of the inconvenience that all of the islanders and visitors have to put with.
        Instead you should contribute in a positive manner.

  3. Kon Creete January 4, 2021 6:09 am Reply

    Instant accumulating (by miles) benefit, less cost than crossing the island, and work done at night so no traffic disruption; install those wider at the bottom, concrete highway dividers.

    Especially painted a high visibility yellow would make safer roads even if speeding or drunk or sleeping drivers would otherwise be able to cross into opposing traffic causing a head on collision. People have been asking for this for years.

  4. Kon Crete January 4, 2021 6:22 am Reply

    Perhaps could be a much priorequested, an instantly accumulating (by miles) benefit, less cost than crossing the island, and work done at night so no traffic disruption; install those wider at the bottom, concrete highway dividers.

    Especially painted a high visibility yellow would make safer roads even if speeding or drunk or sleeping drivers would otherwise be able to cross into opposing traffic causing a head on collision. People have been asking for this for years. Perhaps a much prior requested alternative could be an

  5. Ann O'Riley January 4, 2021 10:02 am Reply

    I drive all over the island for work, and having an alternate E-W route would serve us all.

  6. Rick January 4, 2021 3:59 pm Reply

    Funny how most people can agree Kauai probably needs an alternate route… Most people can also agree when the writer writes “They cannot continue to have that many people’s lives affected because of a two-car accident.” Yet, most people can’t seem to see what is happening in the name of “public safety”. What a shame. Time to go get another part-time job. oh wait…

  7. manongindashadow0711 January 4, 2021 8:04 pm Reply

    All KPD has to do is mark /paint every tire position/location on the roadway and move the vehicles to the side. Let traffic through. Investigate the incident and do all their measurements at a safer time. If not, after moving the vehicles have Officer direct traffic while Investigating Officers do their work.

    1. Joe Public January 5, 2021 2:59 pm Reply

      It is apparent you haven’t got a clue about Reconstruction Traffic Accident Investigations. What you described above is basic Security/Law Enforcement “BASIC TRAINING”, Advanced Investigation skills is learned after a few years of doing these basic investigations, THEN when you are deemed to have the basic knowledge, is where the real training take place which requires a minimum 160 Hours of Class Room Instruction, then years of applying it to serious and fatal Traffic Crashes in which you end up testifying in both civil AND criminal cases in which you either provide some closure for the families.

      It is unfortunate that KPD in trying to take care of other community members that are in desperate need versus your need to go on with your life, inconsiderate of the lives that were impacted worse then your own.

      I hope you never experiance what these families are going through….HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

  8. Chris G January 4, 2021 8:14 pm Reply

    Slightly wider roads or alternate routes in a few small areas of the island would go very far towards alleviating the feeling that Kauai is “crowded” at times when tourism is in full swing.

  9. manongindashadow0711 January 4, 2021 8:33 pm Reply

    Glenn Mickens and myself was one of the first two to mention utilizing some old cane haul roads several years ago. It seam like everyone was against the idea then. Now I laugh . Because everyone wants more roads by using the old cane haul routes/roads.

  10. Citizen January 4, 2021 9:21 pm Reply

    Tree tunnel to the back of kapaa

  11. Ann of Laukona Street January 5, 2021 12:19 am Reply

    People complain about the traffic that night, but are blessed that they did not have family members die that night. People seem to forget that those haul cane roads are PRIVATELY owned and that the highway is the responsibility of the state, not the county. It is the responsibility of the state DOT to provide an alternative route, not the county. Our household was delayed from that fatal accident that night but we didn’t have to bury a family member while another one is paralyzed. For who ever thinks it was their original idea that those old haul cane roads be an alternative route, how do you think we all got around the first week after hurricane Iniki?

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