NANAKULI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) – It’s been five weeks since the state Department of Transportation began its contraflow lane pilot project in Nanakuli and some residents still have concerns.
On Monday night, Ahupua’a o Nanakuli Homestead hosted a town hall meeting at Ka Waihona o Ka Na’auao Public Charter School.
Ed Sniffen, deputy director for the state’s Department of Transporation, and Senator Maile Shimabukuro were there to get feedback on the the project thus far.
Some Leeward coast residents proposed a permament added road on Farrington Highway, but for now, drivers only have an extra temporary westbound lane in the afternoons.
“Before the contraflow, the traffic used to just stop and now we’re literally moving,” said Makaha resident Nancy Nicola. “I would beg them not to take it away from us.”
But having three westbound lanes leaves just one eastbound lane from 3:30 to 7 p.m.
“Making traffic coming in better has made traffic going out much worse,” said Disa Hauge, principal of Waianae High School.
Hauge says since the cones went up in early August, her faculty and staff have suffered. “Most of our teachers do not live on the coast so they want out the second school gets out. So we’re having a real hard time to do things they normally stay to do after school.”
Honolulu firefighters were also among the crowd at the meeting. They’re concerned about their big trucks getting through the narrow lanes during an emergency.
“It’s other companies coming in to support them,” said Batallion Chief Paul Miguel with the Honolulu Fire Department. “When we have a building fire, we’re going to have multiple companies outside of this area coming this way.”
Sniffen and Shimabukuro reminded the crowd that the contraflow lane project is only temporary as they look for a permanent solution.
“In general, there’s twice as many vehicles going westbound than east, so from a system perspective it’s working, but we want to see what we can do to try and improve things for everybody,” said Sniffen.
“Eventually we’ll have a win win situation for all involved,” Shimabukuro said.
The contraflow lane project will be in effect until summer 2017.
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