Star-Adv 2/27/16: ‘Plans for afternoon contra-flow lane in Nanakuli’

DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM State Sen. Maile Shimabukuro toured the potential site of an extension of the Waianae Coast Emergency Access Route on Friday. Shimabukuro, left, talked with resident David Lopes, far right, about the possibility of a bypass road next to his property. Also pictured are resident Demott Conner, in the black shirt, and Jeffrey Fujimoto, an engineer with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Star-Adv: “State Sen. Maile Shimabukuro toured the potential site of an extension of the Waianae Coast Emergency Access Route on Friday. Shimabukuro, left, talked with resident David Lopes, far right, about the possibility of a bypass road next to his property. Also pictured are resident Demott Conner, in the black shirt, and Jeffrey Fujimoto, an engineer with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.” Photo by Dennis Oda, Star-Advertiser.

Excerpts from Jayna Omaye’s “Plans for afternoon contra-flow lane in Nanakuli in works,” Star-Advertiser 2/27/16.

State officials are working on plans for a temporary contra-flow lane on Farrington Highway in Nanakuli to relieve afternoon traffic congestion.

The contra-flow lane would extend from Piliokahi Avenue to Helelua Street from 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays, where one eastbound lane would be turned into a westbound lane, said Ed Sniffen, deputy director of the state Department of Transportation’s Highways Division. Sniffen said they want to get the 1-mile contra-flow lane up and running this summer but will first present the idea to the Nanakuli/Maili Neighborhood Board in March and the Waianae Coast Neighborhood Board in April.

“We want to put something into place now,” Sniffen said Friday at a news conference on Helelua Street. “This contra-flow is not just going to improve things here. Coming up on Kalaeloa (Boulevard) is going to be much easier after the contra-flow is in.”

The department is also working on a project to widen Farrington Highway from Nanakuli to Haleakala avenues to add a new lane for vehicles turning left, with a targeted April 2017 completion. Sniffen said officials are now looking into extending the turn-lane project to Hakimo Road.

State Sen. Maile Shimabukuro (D, Kalaeloa- Waianae-Makaha) applauded DOT’s efforts to setup a contra-flow lane, calling it a “common-sense, efficient and practical way” to relieve the traffic bottlenecks through Nanakuli.

“It’s something the community has been begging for for decades now,” Shimabukuro said Friday. “I think the community will be so happy to hear that we’re finally getting some attention for this long-awaited project.” 

Shimabukuro is also looking into extending the Waianae Coast Emergency Access Route, a network of public and private roads that reroutes traffic from Farrington Highway. She said an idea under consideration is to open up a private road behind Yuen’s Grocery and Liquor and connect it to Haleakala Avenue. But she said that option would need to be further vetted with the Nanakuli Homestead residents whose properties might be affected.

The emergency access route opened more than seven years ago at a cost of $5.9 million. The protocol to open the route, which is gated and locked, calls for emergency situations only.

Lawmakers and residents have also pushed for a secondary access route in and out of the Waianae Coast, but Sniffen said Friday that there are no plans for that at this time.

Read the full article on the Star-Advertiser site.

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