The state plans to reconfigure Kamehameha Highway between the Kipapa Stream Bridge and Lanikuhana Avenue with new pavement markings to increase motorist, bicyclist, and pedestrian safety as part of an ongoing project already under way.
Three travel lanes will be reduced to two, and a wider median and shoulders will be added, according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation, with the project’s anticipated completion date by September and October.
“Safety is our top priority, and we are constantly reviewing areas across the state where modifications can be made to increase safety,” said HDOT Highways deputy director Ed Sniffen in a news release. “The widening of Kipapa Stream Bridge gives us an opportunity to make the corridor between Waipio and Mililani safer for everyone by adding a median and wider shoulders.”
Currently, the roadway north of the bridge consists of three, 11-foot travel lanes (two northbound lanes and one southbound lane) and 0- to 4-foot shoulders.
The roadway will be restriped to accommodate two, 11-foot travel lanes (one northbound lane and one southbound lane), a 3- to 6-foot median, and 4- to 6.5-foot shoulders.
The wider median would increase safety on the route by reducing the risk of head-on collisions, according to HDOT, and the wider shoulders would provide space for motorists needing to attend to emergencies while keeping travel lanes clear as well as improve bike and pedestrian connectivity for central Oahu.
The contractor for the ongoing Kipapa Stream Bridge Rehabilitation project — which includes overhang extension work to widen the bridge — will implement the adjustments to reduce the need for additional lane closures, said HDOT. The state began construction on the project in April.
Between 2012 and 2016, HDOT said there were 13 motor vehicle crashes due to a vehicle crossing over the center line on the north side of the bridge, which does not currently have a median, compared to four on the south side of the bridge, which has a striped median. A traffic study was also conducted to determine the average travel time if a northbound lane was closed on Kamehameha Highway between Ka Uka Boulevard and Lanikuhana Avenue.
Lane closures are updated weekly at hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/roadwork.