Commentary – Saddle Road Improvements Will Pay Dividends for Years to Come

The Hawaii Department of Transportation and the Central Federal Lands
Highway Division recently dedicated the east side Saddle Road phase.

Former Kona Blog Owner Aaron Stene has followed this project through numerous administrations and probably knows more about this project than most of the folks that actually constructed the road.

This new highway is a huge improvement over the old roadway that meandered through upper Kaumana. The latter had a lot of safety deficiencies and didn’t meet modern highway standards.

The new highway between m.m 5.67 and m.m 11.71 meets all modern highway standards, and completes a critical thoroughfare linking West and East Hawaii.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation, Central Federal Lands Highway
Division, and their contractor, Road and Highway Builders LLC have a lot of to be proud of. They were able to deliver a modern highway on time, under budget, and were able to fulfill late Senator Dan Inouye’s’ vision. In addition, the CFLHD did a great job informing the public of project updates on a monthly basis during the construction phase.

The CFLHD project engineer, who oversaw this final phase, was always available if I had any specific project related questions. Other ongoing highway projects on this island should take a cue from the CFLHD’s efforts to keep the public informed about this particular project.

The core Saddle Road improvement project is now finished with the completion of this final phase. However, I hope the HDOT and CFLHD proceed with the Saddle Road extension, which will extend Saddle Road to Queen Kaahumanu Highway in West Hawaii.

It took roughly 13 years, and over 300 million dollars, to reconstruct, and realign, about 45 miles of Saddle Road, but it was totally worth all the effort and time. This improved highway will be paying dividends for this island for years to come.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

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