Median Barrier Update from Senator Shimabukuro

Thanks to those of you who contacted me about this past Saturday’s (12/28/13) tragic car accident1 in Nanakuli. Several constituents asked whether median barriers could help the problem. I checked again with DOT, and they responded that medians are not the appropriate solution. DOT’s reasons are below.

I also asked whether other areas on the Waianae Coast besides those mentioned below could be helped by medians, but received a similar response from DOT. I will continue to work with DOT to try and find other ways to combat these tragedies.

Mahalo again,

Response from Jadine Urasaki, Deputy Director – Projects, Hawaii State Department of Transportation:

We would not support this as we do not recommend installation of median barriers in the section of  Farrington Hwy. from Black Rock to Kahe, and from Honokai Hale to the Campbell cutoff. It is not recommended based on the following design criteria:

1.  Farrington Highway from Honokai Hale to  the Campbell cutoff is a  Principal Arterial Highway with posted speed of  55 mph and a sign indicating a minimum speed of 45 mph. The average daily traffic is approx. 57,000 vehicles per day with a median width range from 10 feet to 24 feet.

2.  Farrington Hwy. from Black Rock to Kahe has a posted speed limit ranging from 35 mph to 45 mph. The average daily traffic is is approx. 40,000, and the median width is approx 22 feet. As explained several times before, there was a recent landscaping project completed in 2012 from Kahe Point to almost near black rock.

Although median barriers can significantly reduce occurrence of cross-median crashes and the severity of median-related crashes, the use of median barriers has some disadvantages. The installation of barrier will generally increase the number of  crashes as it reduces the recovery area of errant motorists. Concrete median barriers are itself a fix object hazard. Median barriers are considered for areas of high posted speeds of 55MPH or higher, fully controlled access roadways (no driveway or adjacent entrances onto the roadway).

Median barriers may not be warranted in the area; land/right-of-way constraints, adjacent property access needs, number of intersections and driveway openings, sight distance at intersections, and barrier end treatments.

With development in the surrounding area, a developer has two new proposed accesses that are potentially located between Palailai I.C. and Honokai Hale. The developer still has to come in with plans and designs for review.

See related 1/21/14 post.

1 See the Star-Advertiser report, “Police: Speed Was a Factor in Crash That Killed 3 People” (12/28/13).