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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, May 8, 2001

Drive Time
Kaukonahua Road to get safety features

 •  Roadwork
 •  O'ahu alternatives to the usual drive

By Scott Ishikawa
Advertiser Staff Writer

The latest tragic accident along Kaukonahua Road last month that claimed the lives of three high school boys revived community concerns about the two-lane, winding road between Wahiawa and Waialua. Since Feb. 21, seven people have died in accidents this year along Kaukonahua.

City Councilmember Rene Mansho, who represents the district, has scheduled a May 17 community meeting in Hale'iwa to discuss the matter. The 7-to-9 p.m. meeting will take place at the Hale'iwa Elementary School cafetorium, 66-505 Hale'iwa Road.

City officials at the meeting will present their recommendations in improving safety along Kaukonahua Road and gather residents' feedback.

But while the city is considering improvements, city Transportation Director Cheryl Soon said drivers have to take responsibility as well, in reference to speed and alcohol being factors in many of the accidents.

Also, the state is planning three area traffic lights along roads north of Wahiawa in an effort to slow down drivers.

Q: Where and when are the latest traffic signals going in?

A: The state plans to put the lights at the following intersections:

• Wilikina Drive and Kamananui Road: This junction is dangerous because drivers turning left from Kamananui onto Wilikina can't see oncoming cars. A traffic signal should be working by the end of August.

• Kamehameha Highway and Kamananui Road near the Pineapple Variety Garden: This traffic signal project is under design, and construction will begin in June 2002. The signal should be working by September 2002.

• Wilikina Drive and McNair Gate: This traffic light project near the entrance of Schofield Barracks' McNair Gate and a sharp bend along Wilikina will be working by September 2002.

Q: What recommendations is the city looking at for Kaukonahua?

A: The short-term improvements include lowering the speed limit along Kaukonahua (ranging from 35 to 45 mph) by 10 mph, making the entire stretch of road a "no passing zone," and adding "rumble strips" along four portions of Kaukonahua.

A more expensive, long-term solution would realign Kaukonahua to straighten out the sharp turns and add roadside space where drivers can pull over to let others pass.

Q: Which of the city's options for Kaukonahua will probably be put in place?

A: Soon said the city will probably implement short-term solutions along Kaukonahua Road, costing the city around $400,000. The long-term improvements would cost more than $1 million.

Scott Ishikawa writes about transportation issues. You can call him at 525-8070 , write him at The Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802 or e-mail sishikawa@ honoluluadvertiser.com