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Commentary – Serious Roadway Safety Issues on Highway 11

There are serious roadway safety issues on Highway 11 between Kuakini Highway/Queen Kaahumanu Highway Extension intersection and Hawaii Ocean View Estates. First and foremost, the asphalt pavement is in dire need of being resurfaced for most of this highway. Both the HDOT and Hawaii County are responsible for maintenance, which they’ve done a poor job over the years.

The poor condition of the pavement of pales in comparison to a much larger issue though. There is serious roadway design deficiencies on the Highway 11 between Captain Cook and Hawaiian Ocean View Estates. These design deficiencies are amplified by a serious speeding issue  that has resulted in many car accidents and fatalities.

I believe HDOT, and to a lesser degree Hawaii County, need to take action to improve Highway 11. Firstly, both departments need to evaluate the condition of the asphalt pavement, and formulate a multi-year plan to resurface this highway. The HDOT also should evaluate what safety improvements are possible between Captain Cook and Hawaii Ocean View Estates.

There is a lot of sharp turns in between Ho’okena and Miloli’i, a distance of 15 miles, that will require the reconstruction of this segment of Highway 11.  These safety improvements should include an expanded shoulder pull off areas. This will aid the police in enforcing the speed limit, especially since there is a lot of people who drive
like they’re on the Indy 500.

There is a underlying issue to the chronic speeding though. These scofflaws are stuck are in traffic between Henry Street and Kamehameha III Road, so they speed to get home quicker. This why these safety improvements won’t be complete unless the widening of Queen Kaahumanu Highway Extension/Kuakini Highway proceeds.

These safety improvements won’t come cheap. This is why the legislature needs to allocate enough funding to the HDOT, so they can maintain their existing inventory of roads and add capacity.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

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