Kealia roundabout progress continues

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    The Kealia Roundabout as seen from the St. Catherine’s Cemetary pull-off looking north.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    The Kealia Roundabout as seen from the Mailihuna Road approach, is now fully operational, Wednesday morning.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    The Kealia Roundabout as seen from the North Shore heading to Kapa‘a, is fully operational, Wednesday morning with temporary signage. At left, workers concentrate on restoring the temporary access to the temporary bridge.

KEALIA — Roundabout use at the intersection of Kuhio Highway and Mailihuna Road intersection has partially opened, eliminating access to the temporary Kapa‘a Stream Bridge.

The full roundabout, with exits south to Kapa‘a and north toward Hanalei opened at noon on Tuesday, allowing vehicles unobstructed makai and mauka access from the highway to Mailihuna Road.

A Hawai‘i Department of Transportation spokesperson said intermittent closures may be occasional as more of the project is completed.

Between 2006 and 2010, 17 crashes were reported on or near this area. Updating the regular intersection to a roundabout is one means of enhancing vehicle and foot traffic by Kealia Beach.

Kent Phelps, a project inspector with Bowers + Kubota, said some safety features of the roundabout include a truck apron and middle vegetation with palm trees acts as a wall that helps to slow down traffic. Phelps said the project is about 80% finished, with additional work being to clear out the old temporary bridge and clean up the area.

This Central Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration in cooperation with the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation project really got going in 2020. The temporary bridge opened last April as a means to detour traffic.

The construction is of a two-lane single-span 190-foot long concrete bridge with 42.5 feet deck width. It upgrades the defunct 150 feet long by 38.5 feet wide bridge.

It was previously reported that this is one of 10 bridge projects to be delivered through a partnership between DOT and the Central Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration.

The project was awarded to Hawaiian Dredging Construction in 2019 for about $24 million. The project also updated an existing private driveway at the intersection.

The anticipated date for substantial completion is August 2021, a spokesperson said.

9 Comments
  1. Jason1704 June 17, 2021 3:15 am Reply

    If people knows how to properly drive through a roundabout it works great and there’s no stopping, it’s yield, good spacing between the vehicles to create a zipper effect but knowing there are ignorant people.


  2. RGLadder37 June 17, 2021 5:22 am Reply

    That was quick. The bridge is completed. Wailua bridge.


  3. nalu June 17, 2021 11:18 am Reply

    How about we take the crew that finished the kealia round about and them over to hanapepe and show those guys how to finish a bridge project.


  4. Jjjames June 17, 2021 6:41 pm Reply

    “YIELD” DOES NOT MEAN “STOP”.
    Perhaps we should use “ MERGE” signs instead.


  5. Jjjames June 17, 2021 6:44 pm Reply

    I can’t wait to see it when school gets out and all the tourists are coming back from the north shore. LOOK OUT!!


  6. Slow Speed June 18, 2021 5:55 am Reply

    This project took a year and you guys act like it was a quick one hahaha. That job would’ve taken 2-3 months max for a crew out of state. This years to complete a small bridge project make me wonder what they do. Hanapepe bridge is an absolute joke. That should’ve been finished a LONG TIME AGO. So much for that June estimated date in Hanalei. It appears mud is continuing to slide there.


  7. betty bohl June 18, 2021 9:29 am Reply

    It’s obvious the designers took the “traffic slowing” goal to the limit. This is going to be a major choke point on Kuhio Highway. Cars gonna be backed up a long way in both directions.


    1. Jjjames June 29, 2021 1:09 pm Reply

      You’re right Betty. It’s called a “bottleneck”. On our main highway.😫😫!!!! Inexperienced engineers!!


  8. Robin June 18, 2021 9:51 pm Reply

    I think it’s just going to be a huge traffic slow down area. By the way, you do not stop once you are in a roundabout unless there is a stop sign, Stopping would be a sure fire way to cause an accident. Traffic is supposed to stay flowing.


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