Update on Use of Emergency Access Roads During Road Work & Parallel Route

Policy-makers met to discuss a parallel route from around Series 7 to Lualualei Naval Road. L-R: Jimmy Hamada (Rep. Gabbard’s office), Craig Chun (City DTS), Sen. Shimabukuro, Ed Sniffen (DOT), Rep. Gates, Julie Cachola (DHHL), and Jeffrey Fujimoto (DHHL).

Maile 032914AThe first week back to school was a rough one. Multiple lane closures due to road work on Farrington Highway coupled with back to school traffic created a traffic nightmare. Eventually, DOT stopped the lane closures for two weeks, and will go through a process to try and get an exception to allow for use of the Waianae Coast emergency access road (WCEAR) for road work, including contacting the surrounding neighbors.

Many community members urged lawmakers to push to allow more frequent use of WCEAR for road work, etc. As background, when WCEAR was built, the private landowners and community were adamant that they only be used for emergencies. Looking forward, I have asked the Neighborhood Board to introduce a resolution supporting use of the WCEAR extension we are building to connect Helelua Street to the Nanakuli Homesteads, for road work lane closures. We want to try and make this happen, but are already getting push back for building the road just for emergencies.

I know it would be preferable to have WCEAR go above the homesteads, but unfortunately that is not something that can happen in the near-term. I also understand where some opponents are coming from. But practically every community along Farrington Highway has an emergency access road running through it except the Nanakuli Homestead. So if you as a Nanakuli homesteader personally happen to be in Makaha one day and an emergency strikes, you could drive through emergency access roads in Makaha, Waianae, Sea Country, Mailiilii, Paakea, Lualualei Naval Road, Helelua, etc. I know that none of those communities look forward to having more cars drive through their neighborhoods, but it’s a sacrifice we all make for the sake of the greater good.

DHHL has a fiduciary duty to care for Nanakuli homesteaders of course, but they also have the same responsibility for Princess Kahanu, Waianae Kai, and Waianae Valley homesteaders who need to get through Nanakuli in times of emergency. As we saw with the water main break, the “bridge to nowhere” is an insufficient solution in and of itself.

We are also trying to build a “parallel route” that would be open all the time from around Series 7 to Lualualei Naval Road. It would be a series of roads and bridges connecting existing roads. We know that most of you would prefer a bypass road like H-3, but that is a long-term solution that is not likely to happen for decades. We are trying to come up with a more immediate solution in the meantime. But again, we need community support for any of this to become a reality.

We lawmakers have been tasked to come up with an expeditious solution for the greater good. I hope you will consider supporting use of the WCEAR extension for road work, as well as a “parallel route,” so that we can avoid the anguish that so many drivers suffered during this first week of school.

Mahalo for the privilege of serving you. Contact me with your questions or concerns at 586-7793.

Senator Maile Shimabukuro
District 21
(Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko Olina, Nanakuli, Ma`ili, Wai`anae, Makaha, Makua)
State Capitol, Room 222
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
808-586-7793 phone
808-586-7797 facsimile
Facebook: Like Me
Twitter: @SenMaile
Blog: http://21maile.com

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