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Barriers go up at Laniakea, creating traffic problems

  • 2013 December 23 CTY -  The State Dept. of Transportation began the installation of barracades near Laniakea Beach on Monday following past complaints by residents of drivers parking on the shoulder to visit the beach. HSA PHOTO BY JIM BORG

    2013 December 23 CTY - The State Dept. of Transportation began the installation of barracades near Laniakea Beach on Monday following past complaints by residents of drivers parking on the shoulder to visit the beach. HSA PHOTO BY JIM BORG

The state Department of Transportation began putting up large concrete barriers to block vehicles from parking at Laniakea — one of the North Shore’s most popular beaches.

The work to erect the barriers backed up North Shore traffic, occasionally reducing road access to one lane.

The constant stream of pedestrians crossing the roadway at Laniakea creates safety hazards and slows traffic for miles in both directions on Kamehameha Highway — a situation that North Shore drivers say has grown intolerable in recent years. An estimated 600,000 people visit the beach each year. Most are tourists who come to marvel at the sea turtles who swim ashore,

DOT officials hope the barriers, placed along a 1,000-foot beachfront stretch just mauka of the highway, will fix those problems. However, the idea has been met for months by widespread community opposition.  North Shore residents and community groups say the region deserves a better, more practical solution that doesn’t make it so difficult for the public to access the beach.

DOT describes the barriers as "short-term" and "temporary" — but officials there acknowledge they could stay up for years if they prove effective.

A community group dubbed the "Save Laniakea Coalition" is moving forward with plans to sue to remove the barriers, Honolulu-based attorney Bill Saunders said today.

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