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Pahoa Round-A-Bout – “Phase B” Begins, “Phase C” Still to Come

Today, “Phase B” of the Pahoa round-a-bout opened and people have already been complaining about the “wait” to get into Pahoa.  Someone on my Facebook page commented “Today it was only about a 13-15 minute “back up” getting to the roundabout…at 4 pm. It will be interesting.”

“Phase A” (April 11th – April 24th) consisted of a half a round-a-bout:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Now “Phase B” (May 2nd – May 15th) is in action, where you can go in a full circle:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

“Phase C” is expected to be worked on between May 16th and May 27th:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The entire project is scheduled to be completed during the summer of 2016:

phase date

Public Information Meeting Scheduled for Pahoa Roundabout Project

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) will be holding a public information meeting in coordination with area legislators, Senator Lorraine Inouye and County Council Members Greggor Ilagan and Daniel K. Paleka, Jr., to inform the public of the anticipated opening date of the Pahoa Roundabout.

Pahoa Round-a-boutThe meeting will include information on the project schedule and remaining work. A display station demonstrating how to drive through a roundabout will also be available for public viewing.

The meeting is scheduled at the following location and time:

Thursday, April 7, 2016
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Pahoa Neighborhood Center
15-2710 Kauhale Street, Pahoa

The public information meeting is accessible for individuals with disabilities. For more information or to request an auxiliary aid or service (e.g., sign language, interpreter, specific language interpreter, designated parking, and materials in alternate format) contact J. Sonomura at (808) 933-8866 or e-mail dotpao@hawaii.gov by March 28, 2016.

HDOT thanks motorists for their patience as they work through the temporary detour and traffic signal changes in the area. Anticipated opening of the area to limited use is scheduled for mid-April. Full operation of the Pahoa Roundabout will be announced at a later date.

For the latest information on lane closures and detours, visit the HDOT website at http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/roadwork/ or follow us on our Facebook (facebook.com/HawaiiDepartmentOfTransportation) or Twitter (@DOTHawaii) accounts.

Pahoa Roundabout Contract Awarded – Pre-Construction On Schedule To Begin In September

The state Department of Transportation (HDOT) advises motorists well in advance of an upcoming detour as it plans for construction of the new Pahoa Roundabout on Hawaii Island. Beginning in mid- to late September the HDOT anticipates construction signage will begin to go up and construction preparation work will begin as the contractor prepares a temporary detour route.

pahoa round

The detour is anticipated to be put in place in mid- to late October, closing the Pahoa Bypass and diverting traffic onto Pahoa Village Road and Kahakai Boulevard.

Detour conditions will be as follows:

  • Complete closure of Pahoa Bypass Road from Pahoa Village Road to Kahakai Boulevard
  • 24-hour detour onto Pahoa Village Road and Kahakai Boulevard
  • Temporary traffic signal at the intersection of Pahoa Village Road and Kahakai Boulevard
  • Detour speed limit of 25 mph
  • Left turn pocket lane created for Pahoa Marketplace

The $4.8 million project awarded to Isemoto Contracting Co. Ltd, in June of 2014, is expected to begin pre-construction activities in September with completion in summer of 2015. The purpose of this project is to provide a safe, efficient, and accessible facility for all users including motorists, pedestrians, cyclists. The project was needed to address safety and traffic congestion as well as address future increases in traffic volumes.

The HDOT is working to schedule a public meeting prior to opening the upcoming detour. The meeting is tentatively scheduled for early October. Please stay tuned as more information on the meeting will be forthcoming as the date, time and location are finalized.

 

Yes… That Was Me in Today’s Wreck at Malama Market Intersection

Today at about 10:30 my cousin and I were driving back home after dropping my wife’s car off at Kolohe Auto Repair when we got in an accident at the Malama Market intersection on Highway 130 here in Pahoa.

View from inside the car right after the wreck.

View from inside the car right after the wreck.  I tried to get out of the car but was too stunned to even move and my neck and back hurt so felt it was best to just stay put.

I was the passenger in a 2009 Scion that took the brunt of the impact.  Simply put… what happened shouldn’t have happened had the driver we hit was paying attention.

We were driving towards Kalapana on Highway 130 and the driver of a Jeep Wrangler was driving towards town direction.  He moved into the left turn lane at the Malama Market intersection and came to a stop.

As we were going at the speed limit recommended for the area of 45 MPH… right as we got to the intersection… the Jeep Wrangler decided that he was going to take a left turn in to the Malama Market area.

The driver of the car I was in… slammed on her brakes but it was too late and we slammed into the car.

I spent all day in the hospital getting everything from Cat Scans to X-Rays while the whole day my neck was in some sort of collar to keep me from moving it.

I’m now happy to report that I’m back home with the diagnosis of serious whiplash and I have a nice gash down the shin of my left leg.

Highway 130 and this Malama Market intersection have been one of the most dangerous ones in the State and today it proved itself to me personally.

The State KNOWS there is a problem with this intersection yet accidents continue to happen there almost daily.  People have lost limbs, lost cars, broken bones and still yet nothing has been done.

There is plans to install a round-a-bout at this intersection in the next few months… I’m not sure how that will work in the long run.
pahoa roundMore posts related to accidents on Highway 130 can be found here:  Highway 130

Pahoa Round-A-Bout to Cost an Estimated $4.8 Million

The Highway 130 round-a-bout that will be going in soon in Pahoa at the Malama Market intersection went out to bid on March 6th and the bidding ended with Isemoto Construction putting in the lowest bid.

The Planned Pahoa round-a-bout.

The Planned Pahoa round-a-bout

Former blogger Aaron Stene said, “The bid result has to be verified and awarded. Then the HDOT has to give a Notice to Proceed. That’s when the clock starts for Isemoto to begin work. This may take a couple months to work though.”

Nan, Inc. and Jas W. Glover also submitted bids, however Isemoto was the lowest bidder at $4,819,150.00.

Isemoto Bid

Highway 130 Shoulder Conversion Project – Clarifications

I posted the following comment on the Facebook group “Bike Commuter of Hilo“:

As a former member of the Keaau Pahoa Advisory Group (KPAG) on Highway 130… I can tell folks that the last drawing I saw on this Highway widening plan that is starting now is supposed to have a Bike lane.

Whether it will have one or not is yet to be seen. I don’t have much confidence that the State really listened to us KPAG Members to well as they are installing the Pahoa Round-a-bout at a location we didn’t want!

The intent of the project is to improve safety and traffic flow by converting the existing T-intersection into a single-lane modern roundabout. Construction work time is estimated at approximately 12 months.

The intent of the project is to improve safety and traffic flow by converting the existing T-intersection into a single-lane modern roundabout. Construction work time is estimated at approximately 12 months.

Doug Zang (not speaking on behalf of the DOT or SSFM) weighed in on my comment and stated the following:

Damon, some clarification is needed. As you know, I was actively involved in that project as well. The DOT has a very complicated and confusing way of implementing and funding the projects along that road, and given how long things take, I can understand the confusion.

The project that is being started this week is the “Shoulder Conversion Project.” It is NOT the same thing as the project you were involved with as a KPAG member. Yes, same highway. Yes, construction. NOT the same project.

The Shoulder Conversion Project is a short-term modification to ONLY the segment of highway between the Humane Society and Shower Drive. The only thing it will do is improve the shoulder on the mauka side of the highway so that people can drive on the mauka shoulder during the PM rush hour much as they drive on the makai shoulder during the AM rush hour today. All other hours of the day, the highway will STILL be only 2 lanes wide, and motorists will NOT be using the shoulder.

In essence, HDOT needs to widen the Waipahoehoe Bridge so that the shoulder extends at a full width across that bridge. (That is the reason the shoulder is not already being used today for that purpose in the afternoon.) So you can think of this as strictly a short-term fix until the full widening of the highway, all the way from Keaau to Pahoa, takes place.

HDOT did a *totally separate* environmental assessment for that shoulder conversion project, and it was always on a timeline ahead of the long-term widening of the highway (which is what you and I were both involved with, and the different environmental assessment that I wrote). The reason for this has to do with getting available funding. It was easier for HDOT to get funding for the shoulder conversion and make things somewhat better in the short-term. KPAG *was* told about that project, repeatedly, and told that THAT project was on a faster timeline than ours. You may not have been around for that discussion as I recall you were not present for probably the last three KPAG meetings.

In the long term, the project that both you and I were involved with WILL INDEED be wider (4 lanes, not two) and have shoulders that WILL serve bicyclists and pedestrians. THAT project, by the way, is still being designed, so it is some time off in the future before that design gets finalized and constructed.

The contact over at the HDOT office in Hilo that is involved with the Shoulder Conversion is named Julann Sonomura. If you call her (feel free to tell her I referred you) she can explain all this to you in greater detail.

Sorry for the novel, everyone, but I felt this needs to be made clear so the public understands. From the standpoint of bicyclists in East Hawaii, the Shoulder Conversion is good news but also not-so-good news. During the PM rush hour, the shoulder heading towards Pahoa will be filled with cars (much as it is in the AM heading the other way), so it will not be a place bicyclists want to be. All the OTHER hours of the day, the shoulder will be much better than now.