Kihei roundabout causing headaches and concerns

KIHEI, Hawaii (KHON2) — A brand new venture is underway to make crossing a busy freeway in Kihei safer for pedestrians. It’s additionally inflicting some complications for residents, and never everybody thinks it’ll work.

Construction on the state’s first two-lane roundabout began final week. Motorists ought to count on some site visitors delays particularly throughout peak hours.

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According to the Department of Transportation, roundabouts are thought-about a safer various to site visitors alerts and cease indicators, whereas on the similar time forcing drivers to decelerate. The roundabout is being constructed to organize for the opening of the lengthy awaited Kihei High School, which will likely be prepared for in-person instruction in January 2023.

The roundabout venture on Piilani Hwy and Kulanihakoi Street is being checked out as a secure method for teenagers to cross the 4 lane freeway to get to the college campus based on Kihei Community Association (KCA) President Mike Moran.

Moran mentioned KCA has been in pushing for a roundabout as a security measure for the college for years.

“The vast majority of the population lives makai,” he defined. “So now everybody’s going to have to cross that highway. We support it because of safety. Multimodal safety for all — drivers, bicyclists and walkers.”

Kihei resident Casey Logsdon, whose store Maui Wedding Cakes is situated close to the realm, isn’t satisfied it’ll work.

“It’s a very busy four lane highway,” Logsdon mentioned. “They’re adding more to it twice a day with the start of school and end of school, which kind of coincides with people going to work in Wailea.”

Ryan Suda lives and operates his enterprise Suda Shades and Designs in Kihei. He mentioned he’s seen two accidents previously two days and expects to see extra when the roundabout opens.

“You’re going to put a four lane roundabout, which some people have never been in, in their lives unless they’ve been to Europe,” Suda mentioned. “Then you’re going to also add in the mix of a bunch of teenage drivers pulling into a high school.”

The hope is police will likely be there when it opens to forestall accidents.

The $16 million venture is slated for completion in fall based on Hawaii Department of Transportation Deputy Director of Highways Ed Sniffen.

“We’re setting up the roundabout to be done by November, operational by November,” mentioned Sniffen. “So there’s going to be two month timeframe before we open school that people can get used to that roundabout, used the safety in that area.”

Sniffen mentioned DOT is against constructing an overpass or underpass within the space. Any plans to take action would take a minimal of three years earlier than development would even start.

“When we talked to the community, there is no appetite for an overpass,” Sniffen defined. “They’d like to see an underpass. But those underpasses are half a mile away in areas where we put our drainage or our storm flow, not necessarily an area that would put a pedestrian. Any kind of work below those areas to include an underpass would be significant work to the highway system either to extend the bridges that we have to increase the hydraulic opening, give ourselves a space where pedestrians can cross for an additional structures or something.”

Construction of an underpass or overpass are nonetheless required by the state land use fee to open the college. Moran mentioned many are in favor of it.

“Getting kids off, and everybody completely off the highway, that is failsafe,” Moran mentioned. “There’s no way they can get hit with a car if they’re not crossing the road.”

Those going into and out of Kihei needs to be ready for delays at some stage in development.

“I’m actually only about six houses away from it,” Suda mentioned. “It’s been horrible. Traffic wise, it’s ludicrous.”

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According to Suda, extra roadwork on South Kihei Road are making issues worse.

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