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Wednesday, April 23, 2014         

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Lihue bypass study irks Council members

They say plans for the road's route and funding are uncertain

By Associated Press

POSTED:



Kauai County has signed a contract with an engineering consulting firm to review a route for a Lihue bypass road, but some County Council members are questioning whether the project will be built.

The county administration last month signed a $450,000 contract for the study with engineering consulting firm SSFM. The county's portion of the contract is $90,000, with the rest coming from federal funding through the state Department of Transportation.

County Councilman Tim Bynum said he initially supported the project because he was told the route would support the island's next landfill. He has since been told that might not be the case, and he and others want the bypass delayed, he said.

"I don't support this project at all," Bynum said. "I hate throwing away $100,000 of our taxpayers' money."

The road might run from Nuko­lii to Kukui Grove Center, making use of existing cane haul roads, but an exact route has not yet been decided.

County Engineer Larry Dill said the project would be a significant benefit to users of a new landfill in Maalo near Hana­maulu.

There are no assurances from the state Transportation Department that money will be available for the bypass, which could relieve traffic in Lihue, he said, because the DOT won't promise money for a project a decade into the future.

The estimated cost of the bypass is $46 million.

Consultants in the first phase of the contract will collect information on existing roads and land use. The final phase will review possible routes and include preliminary engineering, right-of-way cost estimates and potential permits and clearances needed.

Ken Tashima of the county Department of Public Works said a bypass could be 5 to 7 miles long. The study is part of the process to determine whether it is feasible.

"We don't even know if federal highways is going to even fund this," Tashima said.

Councilman Gary Hooser questioned why officials would not use $100,000 to explore options to alleviate traffic in Kapaa, the worst on the island, he said.

Dill said the bypass is a necessary project that would benefit the county and has support from the state.

Resident Darla Cox told The Garden Island that she has lived on Kauai for a decade and has seen traffic on Kuhio Highway between Kapaa and Lihue go from "a little bit better to worse."

"It's horrible — it's really horrible, actually, especially going toward Kapaa town," Cox said as she shopped at Coconut MarketPlace.

She travels the route almost daily, she said, and allocates at least 30 minutes for the drive. It used to take 20 minutes, she said.





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Contract signed to study Lihue bypass




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LMO wrote:
Back in the 1970s we could go from Poipu to Princeville in under an hour on our bikes...not necessarily doing road legal speeds, but there was little traffic. Ahhhhh, the good old dog days!
on July 1,2013 | 01:56AM
BluesBreaker wrote:
If Bynum and Hooser oppose it, the bypass road is probably a good idea. They are an excellent reverse barometer on such things.
on July 1,2013 | 05:50AM
HawaiiBlogger wrote:
^^^^^ Agree...Hooser is just preparing to run for Mayor....I like the current Mayor just fine, thank you very much !!!
on July 1,2013 | 03:38PM
cojef wrote:
Ms. Cox's concerns on the need to alleviate the traffic problem between Lihue and Kapaa. Although was born on Kauai am reluctant to visit Kauai because of this problem. The tourist industry could certainly benefit from improving this stretch of road. Yes, used road and not a highway for effect. Kapaa and points of interest to Haena, Hanalei, and Kilauea could be better marketed if the highway issues are improved.
on July 1,2013 | 06:06AM
false wrote:
Fix bridge, then the road into Lihue from bridge
on July 1,2013 | 08:47AM
loquaciousone wrote:
What they need in Kauai is a rail line. Why don't they take ours.
on July 1,2013 | 11:51AM
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