Mayor Kenoi says the Ane Keohokalole Highway will now be extended from Kealakehe Parkway to Hina Lani Street. The original plan was for the new four lane highway, also known as the mid level road, to go from Palani Road to Kealakehe Parkway. It is about a mile above and runs parallel to Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway.
Funding for Phase 1 was the largest highway project in the state to be funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act— $29 million out of a total of $46 million awarded Hawaii County for highway projects. According to Mayor Kenoi, project savings in the first mile and a half phase means the County will spend only an additional $3.24 million dollars to get a two-lane highway paved all the way to the Costco Industrial Area. The grubbing and grading work on the extension has already been done, covered by the initial project cost.
The Mayor says the new portion will not have all the features of the first phase, which includes four lanes, sidewalks, and underground utilities. The extension will be two lanes, with broad shoulder for bikers or walkers, but initially no sidewalks nor underground utilities. The Mayor says those improvements will come later once property owners start to develop the area. What will come with the addition is an alternate route to the already crowded Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway—and coming just as the State intends to begin reconstruction on the portion of Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway from Kealakehe Parkway to Keahole Airport.
The Mayor says money savings came from doing the project management in house, which saved around $1.6 million. But he acknowledged, it also came from luck. No unexpected lava tubes were discovered, and the contractor and the County worked hand-in-hand with archaeological and cultural experts to make sure the project was giving proper respect to the ‘aina.
The Mayor also says he’s talked with Senator Daniel K. Inouye about securing funding for expanding the road from Hina Lani to Ka’iminani, and says Senator Inouye is prepared for the request. The developers of the new Palamanui subdivision associated with the new Hawaii Community College Palamanui Campus have already agreed to extend the road from their Campus Center to Ka’iminani.
Residents should be able to see visible signs of the paving from either Kealakehe Parkway or Palani Road, as Nan, Inc., has brought in a large machine strictly dedicated to laying large amounts of concrete very efficiently and very rapidly–around 1,000 cubic yards a day. Mayor Kenoi and Alex Leonard from Nan, Inc., say the roadway will open by May. Leonard and County Public Works Director Warren Lee also complimented the utilities (HELCO, Hawaiian Tel, Oceanic Cablevision) for their willingness to work within project timeframes, as well as all members of the project team.