NANAKULI, Hawaii –
Traffic relief is on the way for drivers on the Waianae coast. State transportation officials announced plans to begin a contraflow lane on Farrington Highway.
State officials say an estimated 50,000 cars per day use Farrington Highway, up about 20,000 from the year 2000. More cars, same road.
“The increase in cars and the increase in population are occurring without development. It’s something that hasn’t been taken care of for a while, so we’re putting more resources into it to address it now,” said Ed Sniffen, HDOT Highways Division.
The Nanakuli contraflow project will create a third lane of travel for westbound drivers on Farrington Highway from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. The mile-long contraflow lane will begin at Piliokahi Avenue and continue past Helelua Street.
“It will change one of the eastbound lanes into a westbound lane during the p.m. peak condition,” said Sniffen.
It’s good news for Demont Conner who lives on the leeward coast and spends about an hour and a half in traffic heading home from downtown.
“If there are accidents all along the way, then it just adds exponentially,” said Demont Conner, leeward resident.
In addition to the contraflow lane, an extension to the emergency access lane is under consideration. It would begin at the end of Helelua Street where the current emergency access road ends.
“We’re just here to explore this morning and to find out whether this is a viable way to extend the emergency access road,” said Sen. Maile Shimabukuro.
The hope is to connect it to Haleakala Avenue, which is the first street in the Nanakuli Homestead. For years, it had been proposed Conner hopes to gain support from the Hawaiian community on the leeward coast. Some are already on board.
“I’m just helping to assist in the creation of an access emergency road. We need that,” said Conner.
“I don’t believe we need an access road. I believe we need an actual road and not access for emergencies only,” said Richard Lanford, Neighborhood Board.
For now, HDOT will concentrate primarily on the contraflow lane. They plan to discuss the project before the area neighborhood boards in March and April to get input from the community.
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