By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser East Honolulu Bureau
HAWAII KAI For months, transportation officials have warned us. Now theyve set the date.
Road crews will cone off two lanes starting Feb. 21-23 for preliminary work on a two-year water main replacement project on Kalanianaole Highway, with the real work to begin April 9.
Thats when the main portion of the project and expected traffic delays will begin, said Marilyn Kali, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman.
"We dont expect any traffic impacts from these early lane closures," Kali said. "While were doing this work, it will give us time to do more traffic counts to help determine if the water line work should be done during the day or night."
As of yesterday it had not been decided whether road crews could do the bulk of the work at night, she said. That decision is in the hands of the state Department of Health, which must decide if the night work will cause too much noise.
Officials plan to meet over the next two weeks to decide whether to work at night, which wont reduce the length of time for the project or save the state any money but could cut down on traffic delays, according to the DOT.
The project will require digging up a portion of Kalanianaole Highway from West Hind Drive to Ainakoa Avenue to replace water mains. The DOT has said that commuters should add half an hour to normal drive times if work is done during the day.
Preliminary scouting will be done on the highway first, then some traffic signals will be installed before the main work begins.
From Feb. 21-23, road crews will start coning off two mauka town-bound lanes from Kalani Iki Street to üinakoa Street along the highway. A contraflow lane will be set up so motorists will have two lanes heading east and two west.
After that work is done, motorists will have a three-day reprieve before crews start on a six-week project to install a traffic light at Analii Street and Kalanianaole Highway. The light installation requires road workers to cone off one lane at a time as they lay electrical conduit under ground, Kali said.
"Ive already been stuck a couple of times for an hour," Christa Gerlich, a Hawaii Kai real estate agent, said of traffic delays caused by other road work already under way. "It will impact our business out here. The delay will cause buyers to buy elsewhere once they see that traffic.
"Why does it take years?" she said.
The state has been set to go on the $6 million project since last summer. In July, Mayor Jeremy Harris ordered the work delayed until other construction was finished along the H-1 Freeway.
The Gas Company already has been working days and some weekends laying new lines on Kalanianaole. That work has created a few traffic snarls.
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