By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Windward Bureau
KAHALUU The state wants to widen Kahekili Highway in Temple Valley and add a dedicated right-turn lane to help eliminate traffic buildup in the North Shore-bound lanes during the afternoon rush hour.
Residents and people who work in the area say the lane would ease the problem, but some board members would prefer to see a roundabout at the intersection, which offers access to Koolau Shopping Center.
|The state wants to widen Kaheliki Highway at its intersection with East Hui Iwa Street and add a right-turn lane to ease traffic. Some residents, however, favor a roundabout for easier access to Ko'olau Center.
Jeff Widener The Honolulu Advertiser
"The lane will be helpful but it wont alleviate the situation entirely," said Richard Vermeesch, a Kahaluu Neighborhood Board member who lives in Hokuloa Townhouse subdivision next to the shopping center. "It will still be worse than without the lights."
Brian Kimura, of the Department of Transportations Highway Traffic Division, told the Kahaluu board last week that the DOT will add a 12-foot-wide lane to the mauka side of Kahekili Highway with an additional 6-foot-wide paved shoulder in the area where the Kahekili intersects with East Hui Iwa Street. The estimated cost of the project is $720,000. Construction is tentatively scheduled for August 2002.
Vermeesch said the traffic backup became an issue after lights were installed at East Hui Iwa a couple of years ago. However, the intersection was dangerous and many people saw the signals as an answer to that problem, he said.
In the afternoon, traffic stacks up to Haik¬ Road and slowly moves toward Hui Iwa, where everything flows freely again, he said, despite another stoplight a block away.
He and other board members prefer a roundabout to address other traffic problems such as the back-up on Hui Iwa, he said. Another roundabout is already scheduled for installation at Kahekili and Kamehameha Highway late this year.
Kimura said the state doesnt have enough land to build a traffic circle at the Temple Valley intersection and to do so would require taking land and realigning the road. However, he said he would investigate the possibility.
Kimura also pointed out that the improvement addresses only North Shore-bound afternoon traffic. It does not address morning southbound traffic, he said.
Cheryl Catobus, who works in the Temple Valley Dental Group, said leaving Koolau Shopping Center is difficult in the afternoon. "My big frustration is trying to get off Hui Iwa because the light is like five minutes long," Catobus said, adding that the extra lane wont help her problem.
Scott Jones, who lives above the shopping center, said the lights have had good and bad results.
"The traffic is a pain," he said. "But (the lights) help because theres no traffic accidents there anymore."
He said the extra lane will help.
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