4 lanes for Wailua

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Workmen measure out Kuhio Highway fronting the former Coco Palms Resort in preparation for construction that will start Monday, March 1.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A fourth lane will be added to Kuhio Highway from the Wailua River bridge north to the intersection with the Kapa‘a bypass road.

KAPA‘A — A daily average of 32,500 vehicles drive between Wailua River and Coconut Marketplace in Waipouli, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Starting Monday, the DOT’s Highway Division will begin construction between Kuamo‘o Road and the Kapa‘a bypass road for a second southbound lane on Kuhio Highway.

The long-awaited fourth lane on the highly-trafficked road is estimated to cost about $17 million, using 80% federal funds and 20% state money. The project has an anticipated completion date of spring 2023.

DOT said the Kuhio Highway Short-Term Improvements Project will improve traffic congestion through the Kapa‘a-Wailua stretch between mile-markers 5.9 and 6.6. This is about the start of where DOT’s contraflow operations begin going southbound on weekdays. The new lane will pass in front of the former Coco Palms Resort.

“This has truly been a collaborative effort to improve the quality of life for residents and business owners,” Gov. David Ige said in a release. “I truly appreciate the partnership that has gone into addressing the needs of the community, mitigation of cultural impacts and wildlife concerns as we prepared this much-needed project.”

The project will also include guardrails, sidewalks and curb ramps.

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Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com. Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

22 Comments
  1. nobody February 26, 2021 6:45 am Reply

    Finally. How amazing is the Puhi to Lihue corridor. That was good planning.


  2. Schar Freeman February 26, 2021 7:20 am Reply

    I hope that the plan is to elevate this portion of the highway. The ocean gets closer and closer each and every tide it seems and if this amount of $$’s is being spent surely it will be spent wisely.


    1. Concerned Resident February 27, 2021 11:53 pm Reply

      They clearly have no clue what to do. It’s very apparent. I never saw this kinda of neglect for the Wailua beach with the last mayor. I guess if their new road gets destroyed by the ocean it’ll give the road construction guys another two years of work. Most of these projects for road construction here should be done in a third the time they take. Only on Kauai.


  3. Makani B. Howard February 26, 2021 8:48 am Reply

    $17 million for less than one mile of road?

    Is it paved in gold?


    1. KomodoDragon February 26, 2021 11:28 am Reply

      $17 Million for a 1 mile of road. Not to mention it will take 2 years to complete. I think Kiewit is the only contractor on the Kauai.
      The Breakdown:
      20% standard profit.
      10% to the union and political donations.
      50% labor.
      20% actual materials and equipment.
      That’s about right.


      1. HAD February 26, 2021 3:52 pm Reply

        Kiewit is not the only heavy, highway, civil contractor on island.


    2. Dt February 26, 2021 9:03 pm Reply

      Not only that. It is just adding one lane. What if it was 4 new lanes. They will be putting in the overhead electric to underground. Save our shearwaters. The lights will also be timed. That is $1M to synchronize two lights.

      They are good at spending. Not too great at saving.


      1. Concerned Resident February 27, 2021 11:55 pm Reply

        Clearly shouldn’t take anywhere near a year let alone two years. Only on Kauai.


    3. Guy February 27, 2021 9:30 am Reply

      Did you bid on it?


  4. Doug February 26, 2021 9:05 am Reply

    I’ll believe it when I see it!


    1. CommonSenseish February 26, 2021 12:07 pm Reply

      I had to laugh at this comment. You will believe it when you get stuck in the “even worse” traffic this is going to cause for years to come. Definitely avoiding the Eastside for a while.


      1. Doug February 26, 2021 8:21 pm Reply

        Actually, you are totally correct, not only will the construction itself muck up traffic for two years, but once this section is completed traffic will then bottleneck when the road narrows back to one lane just past the bridge and traffic will probably back up past the traffic light. Fun, fun fun!


  5. Paulo February 26, 2021 9:36 am Reply

    4 lanes are definitely needed but the elephant sitting on the road is the deep blue sea threatening to wash onto the highway just over the bridge on the Kapaa side. Has no one seen the safety netting blocking the closed mini-parking lot which has washed into the ocean?

    This road needs to relocated behind the Coco Palms or elevated as one long bridge from the Lydgate side of the river. Not going to be cheap but do we just ignore it?

    Move the the road before the ocean does it for us.


    1. CommonSenseish February 26, 2021 12:11 pm Reply

      Nah, that’s not how the County of Kauai works. They are gonna drop all these millions on a road that will end up taking a year or two longer then expected because they run into an issue with the ground which they will then announce is not safe to build a road on ( in 2024) and they will then decide to spend another 60 million moving it… when they could have done this all in the first place… but again… thats not how the County of Kauai works. LOL


      1. Uncommon February 27, 2021 9:32 am Reply

        From what I read:
        “…80% federal funds and 20% state money.”

        No county funds.


    2. Dt February 26, 2021 9:08 pm Reply

      They should build a groin, break wall, jetty, out there to slow down the erosion. If they start now they could save the road and path.


  6. kauaidoug February 26, 2021 10:40 am Reply

    Finally is right!!! Now is the time to decide what to do with Coco Palms and build the entries and exits for that property. Any bets as to coordination between highway builders and Coco Palms owners?

    Lets get this all done now so 3 or 4 years after the highway stretch is completed we don’t have to live through another improvement of access to the Palms. “They’ve” only had since Iniki to work on this.


  7. John keleigh February 26, 2021 2:26 pm Reply

    If they don’t raise or relocate the roadway it’s a waste of time and money


  8. andy February 27, 2021 9:05 am Reply

    Paulo and John K. are right on the money. I ride the path regularly and have been amazed at how steadily the ocean is advancing, especially evident right in front of Coco Palms. To merely add one very costly lane right there is to ignore the obvious reality of the relentless erosion that will almost certainly continue for the foreseeable future, if not forever.


  9. Stephen Johnson February 27, 2021 11:23 am Reply

    Hey, remember when Wailua Beach was a beach?
    Time to DEMOLISH Coco Palms!
    Carry on.


  10. steven ball February 27, 2021 1:51 pm Reply

    Gov. Ige should get a prize for Stand Up Comedy, “improve the quality of life for business and residents”. Right on Gov, .9 mile of one added lane is life changing, LOL. He spends most of his time figuring had to screw the neighbor islands, then takes credit for improving our quality of live.


  11. David Cooper February 27, 2021 5:34 pm Reply

    Would anybody pay 500,000 dollars a 100 foot driveway? They would be sent for an evaluation. The math for this added lane is 5000 bucks a foot. Now what is wrong here? Lots.


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