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NELHA Kohanaiki beach access meeting Aug. 21

A gate blocks NELHA's jeep trail (Photo special to Hawaii247)

A gate blocks NELHA's jeep trail. (Photo special to Hawaii247)


Rep. Denny Coffman and Sen. Josh Green will hold a joint community meeting to discuss concerns related to beach access near the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii (NELHA).  

Specifically, this involves the Kohanaiki beach access road to “Pinetrees” surf area and camping grounds. 

The meeting is slated 6-8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21 at the Kealakehe High School cafeteria. 

The lawmakers have invited the following state officials to attend and provide information to the community: Brennon Morioka, director of the Department of Transportation; Ted Liu, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism; and Ron Baird, Executive Director of NELHA.  

Currently, access to “Pinetrees” beach via the Kohanaiki shore line access road is blocked from the northbound Queen Kaahumanu highway lanes. 

 A driver must travel one mile north to the NELHA turn-off to make a safe U-turn and then travel south to the new Kohanaiki shore line access road.  

When Queen Kaahumanu Highway is widened, a safe driver will need to travel to the airport turn-off to make a safe U-turn. 

“I have already experienced someone stopping in the middle of Queen Kaahumanu Highway to make a U-turn to get to the new Kohanaiki shore line access road,” Coffman said. “I am concerned about traffic safety, and we’ll be working with the Department of Transportation to find a solution.”

Access to the beach area via the Kohanaiki shore access road from the southbound lanes is unsafe.  

The right-turn in and right-turn out are directly from the highway; no special turn or merge lanes have been provided. 

“All the beaches in Hawaii must remain open and accessible to the public by law,” Green said. “People should be able to access the beach without putting themselves and their families at risk. This is an opportunity for the community to give their feedback and to urge a quick response.” 

For a flyer and petition form, visit or e-mail

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