Senator Inouye Tours New Highway, Interpretive Center

Senator Inouye

Senator Inouye tour the new highway on the Big Island

U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye today toured portions of the new $32 million Ane Keohokalole Highway in Kailua-Kona as well as an adjoining cultural interpretive center that is being funded as part of the highway project. The cultural center is an effort to properly care for Native Hawaiian cultural sites while constructing the most important new highway in Kailua-Kona to be built in decades.

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The $1 million interpretive center focuses on the culture of the ahupua‘a of Keahuolu through a 16th century farm, or kauhale. The center will also be a repository for artifacts found in the area, and offer a quiet and private resting place for Native Hawaiian remains. The interpretive center in this culturally rich area is expected to be completed by the end of the year, and was designed by Kari Kimura, a Kona native who attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The center is being built in conjunction with the Ane Keohokalole Highway, also known as the Mid-Level Road. This three-mile-long regional link is being constructed by Nan Hawaii Inc. of Honolulu, and will open a major new traffic corridor parallel to the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway along the Kona Coast. It will also provide access to hundreds of acres of state lands and Hawaiian Home lands slated for affordable housing projects.

Traffic congestion in the rapidly growing Kona community has long been a source of frustration for residents. The new highway is being funded by the President Obama’s federal stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and today Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi thanked Senator Inouye for his help in obtaining federal funding for the project.

The highway construction is on time and on budget. Paving should start in early December, and is expected to last about eight weeks. The project includes a program to preserve a dryland forest near the new highway.

One Response

  1. […] Inouye toured the ongoing Ane Keohokalole Highway project […]

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