Maui Rep. Angus McKelvey is mad as hell at the nonsense going on with the Keawe Street intersection with Honoapii`lani Highway in Lahaina, and he wants Governor David Ige to knock it off. Like, now.
“I am officially requesting your office immediately intervene,” McKelvey said in a Jan. 8 letter to Ige. “This proposal, which involves essentially removing one of the existing northbound lanes from the highway, will have a detrimentally profound and negative impact that will result in more traffic congestion for the West Side of Maui. Not only will these modifications have immediate disastrous results for traffic, it was not part of any planning documents. The public therefore, was given no chance to comment and receive the responses they deserve for their concerns.”
Seriously, the work the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is doing in West Maui right now is no joke, and it’s got residents pretty riled up. “It’s just going to be a nightmare in the (Lahaina) industrial area,” Lahaina small business owner Dan Blessing said in this Dec. 17, 2017 Maui News story. “We already cannot get in or out.”
A Jan. 10 news release from the Hawaii House of Representatives makes clear that Blessing and other residents have a right to be concerned.
“According to McKelvey, HDOT’s proposal cordons off the existing northbound right lane of Honoapi`ilani Highway for through traffic with hard barriers,” states the news release. “This forces drivers to move to the left before the barriers or be forced in the opposite direction of where they are going and required to loop around the entire town of Lahaina to re-merge. Besides forcing all the two-lane traffic to one lane, causing gridlock on the heart of the town itself, the isolation of the lane for right turn traffic only does not address the underlying capacity issues that started this discussion.”
Which is why McKelvey wants Ige to step in.
“Your kokua and leadership are needed to prevent the elimination of benefits this project is intended to have for the overstressed infrastructure of our neighbor island district,” McKelvey wrote. “As you know, West Maui attracts thousands of daily visitors and generates millions of dollars in revenue for the State of Hawaii through taxes, fees, and economic activity. This situation can be remedied through the effective leadership of you and your office. You have the power to intervene to let the community be heard, and alternatives to be created that will provide the additional capacity and access to the area while allowing for more ingress and egress to the bypass for increased traffic.”
Click here to read McKelvey’s Jan. 8 letter to Ige.
Photo courtesy Angus McKelvey