Now that work on the west side of Saddle Road is well underway, the State is moving to extend Saddle Road all the way down to Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway. The current work on Saddle Road is completely realigning the road so it goes from roughly the Girl Scout Camp on Saddle Road down to Mile Marker 13 on Mamalahoa Highway, south of Waikoloa Road. The existing Saddle Road through Waiki’i Ranch will still exist. The State will have a public information meeting Thursday evening at Waikoloa School to review the plans and get community input.
The State Department of Transportation is redoing the Environmental Impact Statement they started in 1999. Lennie Okano-Kendrick of Okahara and Associates, the Hilo-based Engineering and Consulting Firm working on the project for the state, says the redo is needed because of changes in the Army’s plans after they acquired new property from Parker Ranch.
The extension of Saddle Road will go from Mamalahoa Highway to Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway. It will start around Mile Marker 13, which is a few miles south of Waikoloa Road. That’s where the new Saddle Road will come out. The extension will wind around ten miles down to Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway. Okano-Kendrick says there are a few possible routes, but all wind up coming out at or close to Waikoloa Beach Road.
The new road will relieve traffic on Waikoloa Road. And the new road will be very much like Saddle Road in design, with wide lanes and wide shoulders, a much safer road for passenger vehicles, trucks, and military vehicles. It will also keep traffic off Mamalahoa Highway.
If all goes well and the state finds funding, the project may start in 2017. The property through which the road might go is a combination of state and private land, and would have to be acquired.
The meeting is Thursday at Waikoloa School at 6 p.m. The first thirty minutes is an “open house,” with attendees invited to review the maps and various plans. There will be people from Okahara and Associates and from the State Department of Transportation to answer questions. Then there will be a presentation and a Question and Answer opportunity.
Information is also online at the State Department of Transportation web site, http://hawaii.gov/dot under the “What’s New” section on the home page.