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Plenty of public workers working on roads

The county Department of Public Works has scheduled the following projects to begin this week and continue into January:

* New left turn and pedestrian walkway in Waimea: Resurfacing and marking for a new left turn lane on Mamalahoa Highway fronting Waimea Elementary School to improve the flow of traffic begins Tuesday, Dec. 30, weather permitting.

* The existing walkway on Mamalahoa Highway from Kaomoloa drive to the Waimea Elementary School access road will also be extended.  This provides a safe walking path for school children and pedestrians.  Improvements scheduled to be completed in mid-January.

* Waikaalulu Gulch Bridge on Kalopa Road will be closed starting Monday, Jan. 5 for repairs. Only local traffic will be allowed beyond the barricades on Kalopa Road. Repairs will be done by contractor, William K. Kapololu Jr., and are expected to reopen Feb. 4. Traffic on the east side of the bridge is advised to use Papalele Road to connect with Highway 19. Residents are asked to use Hoo Kahua Road, Papalele Road or Kaapahu roads to cross Waikaalulu Gulch, which is spanned by six bridges at different sections. This is the third Waikaalulu Gulch Bridge to be repaired as part of the Public Works regular maintenance schedule.  

*  Improvements in Kainaliu resume Monday, Jan. 5: Sidewalk improvements will resume on the mauka side of Mamalahoa highway, just beyond Showcase Gallery then move across Mamalahoa highway. This is part of the $1.5 million improvements package to address the flow of traffic, improve parking and upgrade sidewalks to meet requirements for the American Disabilities Act. Construction is scheduled for completion in April.  

* Traffic signal light bulbs, nearing the end of their six-year life cycle will be replaced starting the second week of January at 96 county and state road and highway intersections around the island. This is part of the preventive maintenance program. Work will begin in Kona. Crews will work two days a week until March, then move to East Hawaii. No traffic delays are anticipated. Used light bulbs and electronic material will be recycled.

* Community meeting on Kalopa bypass Thursday, Jan. 8: The proposed alternate route to the area will be discussed at the community meeting hosted by Councilman Dominic Yagong.  The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Paauilo School Cafeteria. Public Works staff will present plans for the new 4,000-foot road scheduled for construction in 2009 at an estimated cost of $ 3.4 million. The Kalopa Sand Gulch Road was closed for a month in 2006 due to earthquake damage forcing 75-100 area residents to make lengthy, daily detours to and from their homes. 

* Kealakaa will be closed for repairs starting Thursday, Jan. 8: Kealakaa street in North Kona will be closed for road construction Jan. 8-Jan. 15. Workers will be reconstructing 500-feet of pavement starting from the intersection of Kealakaa and Palani roads. Motorists are asked to use Uluaoa Street. Roadwork is scheduled 8 a.m.-4 p.m.  

* New traffic signals at Kinoole and Kamana streets in Hilo will start operating Thursday, Jan. 8.  The new traffic signal will have a countdown clock for pedestrians crossing the street 

For updates, call the County Hotline at 334-9559.

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