The State Department of Transportation is advancing plans to improve security and ease traffic congestion in Waimea.
The proposed project would include multiple multimodal safety and operational improvements to existing roads on the Kona side of the city of South Kohala to save lives and reduce traffic safety. The proposed improvements and a draft environmental assessment for the project follow the completion of Waimea’s regional safety study in 2019.
According to the latest data from the DOT, there were 60 accidents in the investigation area in the five-year period from 2012 to 2016. One accident involved a pedestrian and three accidents involved other types of vehicles. Though there were no deaths, 34 people were injured. Seven of the accidents occurred at the intersection of Lindsey and Kawaihae Streets, which the state identified as a “hot spot” for collisions.
This intersection would be resolved by installing a roundabout where Kawaihae and Lindsey streets meet. The roundabout would have an inscribed circle of 125 feet and would include sidewalks, bike lanes, and crosswalks. This improvement alone is expected to cost $ 9.5 million, excluding the cost of land purchase.
The state also intends to improve the Mamalahoa Highway and Lindsey Road intersection and provide restricted left-hand turns along the Mamalahoa Highway between Lindsey and Pukalani Roads.
The addition of bicycle and pedestrian paths along both sides of Kawaihae Road between Lindsey and Opelo Streets, and the Mamalahoa Highway between Waimea School and Lindsey Road, and restructuring to create a shared shoulder and bicycle lane between Waimea School and Kaomoloa Road to create, this also includes the application.
Depending on the availability of funds, the project can be built up in phases. Funding will likely come from Hawaii County, which has approved a general 0.5% increase in excise tax on transit, as well as state vehicle rental surcharge, which is levied to fund highway capacity and congestion projects.
If funding can be secured, construction could begin in 2022.
The State Department of Transportation does not expect any significant environmental impact, adviser SSFM International said in the EA draft released Monday.
Comments are to be sent to the proposing / determining agency and a copy to the consultant by April 25th. To find the draft EA for the Waimea Roadway Improvements Project, see the latest edition of the Office of Environmental Quality Control’s Environmental Notice at http://oeqc2.doh.hawaii.gov/The_Environmental_Notice/2021-03-08 -TEN.pdf.