Commentary – Aaron Stene on the Saddle Road Project

I’m very disappointed how Governor Abercrombie’s administration has managed the widening of Queen Kaahumanu Highway and last Hilo side phase
of Saddle Road. The Section 106 consultation process between the Native Hawaiian Organizations and FHWA/DOT has entered its twentieth month.

Saddle Road Dedication

The FHWA and DOT is keeping the public  in the dark regarding these consultations, so no one knows where things stand with this project. The
Queen Kaahumanu Highway website hasn’t been updated since September 25th, 2012.

The Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening should’ve been completed three years ago, but it is on hold due to various issues. There may be a light
at the end of tunnel though. The HDOT hopes to break ground on this project in August, according to the April Board of Water Supply meeting
minutes. However, the calendar isn’t a friend of this latest start date.  Several outstanding issues need to be resolved, such as the completion
of the ongoing Section 106 consultation process, before this project can move forward.

Saddle Road Blessing

Senator Inouye joined Mayor Billy Kenoi and others for a blessing of the recently refurbished section of Saddle Road between mile post 11 and mile post 19

The last east side Saddle Road phase (between m.m  5.3 and m.m 11) is the other project botched by Governor Abercrombie’s administration. The
HDOT asked the State Attorney General’s office  to begin condemnation proceedings against the three remaining landowners in 2012, whose land
is required for this new highway.

The Land Transportation Division of the Attorney General’s office has yet to initiate any of these lawsuits, as of January 2013. The HDOT
recently submitted the last Saddle Road phase for a FY 2013 TIGER grant.  I’m deeply concerned this right of way issue may influence the chances of this phase being awarded a TIGER grant.

Saddle Road Stene

I’ve tried to convey my concerns to the Honolulu HDOT and FHWA powers that be. However, they’ve ignored nearly all my e-mails regarding these
two much-needed projects.

Aaron Stene,

Kailua, Kona

 

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