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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Puna copes with water system, highway projects

By Hugh Clark
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

KEA'AU, Hawai'i — Puna residents are dealing with the impact of several major construction projects that will improve water service and the area's main highway.

The Hawai'i County Water Department has launched a $1.6 million water line extension project from Paradise Drive toward Pahoa to the Maku'u Farm Lots in the fast-growing Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision.

The development, started in the 1950s, now has 7,051 residents, a population increase of more than 100 percent over the last decade.

The $1 million water line project down Paradise Drive will serve the subdivision's only fire station, and is expected to reduce homeowner insurance rates.

Ronald Phillips lives too far inside the sprawling development to benefit from the water line project, but he said the central Puna area will be better off. By linking Kea'au and Pahoa on the same line, the water system will become more reliable, he said.

The projects will cross all four of Puna's main entry roads, creating traffic disruptions.

Meanwhile, the state Highways Division is embarking on a $5 million widening and improvement project on the heavily traveled Kea'au-Pahoa Highway, also known as State Highway 130.