Another Mile of Ane Keohokalole Highway to be Completed

The County of Hawai`i and contractor Nan Inc. have entered into a $3.24 million agreement that will complete an additional mile of Ane Keohokalole Highway.

The Keohokalole Family, descendants of Ane "Annie Keohokalole," mother of Kalakaua, Liliuokalani and Leleiohoku, following a tour of the Ane Keohokalole Highway site. Second from left is family friend John DeFries, president of Hokulia.

This will be a road parallel and about a mile mauka of the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway from Palani Road to Hina-Lani Street in Kaloko. The entire two and a half miles of highway is scheduled to open at the same time in May.

“Public Works has done an incredible job at keeping this project on time and under budget,” said Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi. “Because of this, we are in position to build another mile of road.”

Native Hawaiian descendants and government officials visit an ancient cave in the path of the Ane Keohokalole Highway. Lead archaeologist Rowland Reeve of Pacific Legacy, right, provides interpretation.

The additional mile of highway will consist of two lanes with a concrete surface and enough space to expand to four lanes. There will also be some resurfacing work at Hina-Lani Street as well as added left-turn pockets.

This expanded highway will open at the best possible time. The state’s Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway widening project between Honokohau Harbor and Kona International Airport will no doubt cause traffic delays, and a completed Ane Keohokalole Highway will give motorists an alternative route when traffic is heavy.

It is also good news for those who rely on public transportation to get to and from work, shopping and play. County Mass Transit has committed to establish a transit bus loop using Ane Keohokalole Highway and the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway.

Archaeologist Rowland Reeve discusses a test pit in the kauhale area of the Ane Keohokalole Highway. Both the county and the landowner, Queen Liliuokalani Trust, sought additional assurances that no human remains were in the area before construction on the highway began. In the photo above, a cairn was excavated and found to be a mound of stones created when farmers cleared the surrounding farmable lands.

Ground was broken on the first phase of the $29.9 million Ane Keohokalole Highway project on March 30, 2010, and was originally planned as a mile and a half of highway from Palani Road to the West Hawai`i Civic Center. The project represents not only the largest expenditure of federal stimulus money in Hawai’i, it also is one of the first major roads to be built by Hawai`i County in Kona since statehood.

The project, awarded to Nan Inc. of Honolulu, also involves two preservation efforts at each end of the road. An interpretive center and cultural preservation area valued at more than $3 million is being built by Queen Liliuokalani Trust at the Palani Road end of the project, while a $500,000 partnership between the county, Stanford Carr Developments and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to preserve one of Hawai`i’s last remaining dryland forests is underway at the Hina-Lani Street intersection.

Ane Keohokalole Highway will also facilitate the state’s development of the state’s Kamakana Village affordable-housing project, commercial development by the Queen Liliuokalani Trust to support children’s programs, and the Department of Hawai`ian Home Lands’ expansion of Laiopua Village and its planned community center.

“We are not just building a road,” said Mayor Kenoi. “With affordable homes, shelters for the homeless, places to work and play, a way to get to college, commuter buses and bike paths we are facilitating the creation of a safe and vibrant community.”

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