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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 7, 2002

Kalaeloa road deal struck

By Scott Ishikawa
Advertiser Staff Writer

KALAELOA — A proposed agreement with the city and state appears to have averted a threatened Navy shutdown of roads at the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station, and led to a new road to Kalaeloa through 'Ewa Villages.

The tentative pact was reached last week and could come before the City Council on Feb. 22.

The proposal would transfer ownership of Navy roads at Kalaeloa to the city and state, and allow the city to build an access road through 'Ewa Villages, giving residents a back route to avoid traffic congestion on Fort Weaver Road heading to the H-1 Freeway.

Much of the former naval base was turned over to the state and city in July 1999. A Navy license was issued to the Barbers Point Naval Air Station Redevelopment Commission to allow public access on the Kalaeloa roads until they, too, were turned over.

But delays in the road ownership transfer have frustrated Navy officials, who said at a Jan. 24 community meeting they didn't know how much longer they could maintain the 15 roads on the former base because of liability concerns. One official said the Navy would consider restricting use of the roads to those needing access to certain facilities if the delays continued.

Those comments prompted last week's meeting of the Navy, city and state.

"I feel really good after what took place last week," said Bill Bass, Barbers Point Naval Air Station Redevelopment Commission executive director. "We had to clear the air on where all the parties were."

Bass traced one of the delays in the changeover to questions about whether utility companies will be responsible for taking over certain road easements.

The Navy will send its proposal on easement rights to the city.

City Managing Director Ben Lee said the city would write a resolution authorizing Mayor Jeremy Harris to accept the city portion of the roadways, to come up for a council vote Feb. 22.

According to a memorandum of agreement signed by all parties last year, the state agreed to improve four major roads at Kalaeloa — Enterprise and Roosevelt avenues and Coral Sea and West Perimeter roads — and transfer them to the city within 10 years. The city will take over the 11 feeder roads.

Lee said the city also plans to pave a 50-foot stretch of road to connect Renton Road in 'Ewa Village to Roosevelt Avenue in Kalaeloa.

Construction for that $35,000 road project could begin the last week of February, he said.

Reach Scott Ishikawa at sishikawa@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2429.