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DOT meeting on long-range plans (Feb. 28 & 29)

From the South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee:

The state Department of Transportation is hosting a series of meetings to determine State Highway projects planning for the long term future.

The Kona meeting is 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28 at Kona Outdoor Circle. The Hilo meeting is 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29 at Puueo Community Center.

Your input is needed to make sure the following projects are a priority for Kohala.

1. Saddle Road to Queen Kaahumanu Highway extension (MM14 on Mamalahoa Highway to approx. Waikoloa Beach Drive intersection on Queen Kaahumanu Highway.

2. Kawaihae Road Bypass – Current road was designed in 1932 and is limited as far as Emergency Medical Service response, a safety concern due to no truck ramps, and traveled by school buses with students on board as the main connector between Kawaihae and Waimea. Upper portion design would provide needed bypass for Waimea and connector to Saddle Road. Bottom portion would provide connectors into Kawaihae Harbor – safer travel for commercial traffic, provide alternate routes into and out of Kawaihae cul-de-sac.

3. Waiaka Bridge replacement on Kawahae Road.

4. Provide connectivity with intersections for future County Roads – Paniolo Drive in Waikoloa Village extension to Kawaihae Road Bypass.

5. Fund and start construction on Queen Kaahumanu Highway/Kawaihae Road Intersection Improvements.

6. Provide road infrastructure supporting Kawaihae Harbor Modernization program.

7. Expand Federal Rural Bus Transportation funding and service in North and South Kohala.

8. Increase alternative transportation program funding for extension of Ala Kahakai Trail into Kawaihae North Boat Harbor. Increase Makai to Mauka connector trails to link with Ala Kahakai Trail system. Future connection to Waimea Trails and Greenway Project

The last update of this plan was in 1992. It did not get published until 1998.

The demographics collected at that time do not predict the actual growth and congestion in North Kohala and South Kohala.

There is no Hawaii County resident stake holder committee to advise the state Department of Transportation as in the case of Kauai and Oahu. Public input is at a minimum unless you step up.

— Find out more:

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