Traffic Signal Upgrade on La’aloa Ave. and Kuakini Hwy. Intersection Wednesday

The Department of Public Works Traffic Division will be working on the traffic signals at the La’aloa Ave. and Kuakini Hwy. (Hwy. 11) intersection, on Wednesday, August 9, 2017, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., weather conditions permitting.

The upgrade involves installing wireless vehicle detection sensors in the roadway on all three approaches and programing the traffic signals to optimize traffic flow. The intersection will remain open and the Traffic Division will work on one approach at a time with Special off-duty police officers supporting them in directing motorists around the lane they are working in. Motorists are advised to expect delays and are encouraged to use alternate routes.

Hawai‘i County Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Hilo Traffic Alert for Next Week

The Department of Public Works Traffic Division will be upgrading the traffic signal controller at the Maka‘ala St. and Kanoelehua Ave. intersection on Wednesday, June 14th between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., weather conditions permitting.

Work will continue on Thursday, June 15th at the Waiānuenue Ave. and Ka‘iulani St. intersection between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., weather conditions permitting.  Work involves removing and replacing the makai bound mast arm and traffic signal.

The traffic signals at both intersections will be shut down during the scheduled work hours and special off-duty police officers will be in the area to facilitate traffic movement.  Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

The Reason Right Hand Turn Lane Was Removed From Kilauea Street

Some time in the last few weeks, the County of Hawaii Department of Public Works decided to remove the right hand turn lane at the south end of Kilauea Street where folks use to be able to turn on to Haihai Street.

A few folks have sent me emails asking me to inquire about things and finally I put it out there the other night that I would be inquiring about this change in traffic pattern.

Former Kona Blogger Aaron Stene saw what I posted and was able to inquire with the County of Hawaii Department of Public Works as to why this change happened and he sent me the conversation between two folks in the county who knew what happened and WHY it happened.

Some time ago we got a request from then Councilman, Dennis Onishi.  The request was for a convex mirror for the Kilauea Ave/Haihai St. intersection because people had a hard time seeing turning out onto Kilauea Ave from Haihai St.

After investigating the intersection we concluded that a mirror would be ineffective at improving sight distance, particularly at the higher speeds that cars commonly drive in this area.  The problem we identified was that cars in the right turn lane restricted line of sight.  We proposed to Dennis the idea of terminating the right turn lane and merging traffic into one lane.  Our thinking was that not having the right turn lane would allow turning vehicles to have better visibility of oncoming traffic and turning vehicles would actually be able to pull out a little more to make turns.  Dennis supported our plan so we proceeded to make the change.

The one concern that I have is that driver habits in this area hamper the flow of traffic at this intersection.  Although the yield is for Hilo bound traffic, cars still tend to yield on the Puna bound side.  When this occurs, the Puna bound backup increases because the lane now consists of both right turning vehicles and through vehicles.

Our treatment is not the perfect solution, but the positive impacts of the change should be appreciated by those making turns from Haihai St, as opposed to those on Kilauea Ave.  I heard there are plans to widen the “4 Mile” bridge in a few years.  I think converting the bridge to a two-lane bridge will greatly improve traffic flow in this area.  Speeds will probably go up, but the congestion will be reduced significantly.  The other improvement that may not be possible due to lack of space is a left turn lane on Kilauea Ave for the Haihai St intersection.  Another cause for congestion is people making left turns.

Aaron Takaba


Hawaii County Department of Public Works Starts Blogging

Well no one will admit this at the Department of Public Works… but the Hawaii County Department of Public Works has started blogging.

I know they don’t like the sound of that… but that’s what these sites are is just basically blogs:

From the Mayor’s Office:

The Department of Public Works has launched two redesigned websites for Flood Awareness, Education and Roadwork information at and

The new design incorporates improved navigation, enhanced functionality, and addresses Americans with Disability Act (ADA) accessibility requirements to make the site easier to use by first-time visitors and those with disabilities, as well as being easier and more cost effective to maintain.

The new websites:

  • Improve access to report broken street lights, faded road markings, etc.
  • Provides links in the navigation menu to additional sources of information.
  • Alerts and updates citizens of any road and bridge work through RSS feeds.
  • Advises residents about flood hazards, insurance and protection.

In the coming months, an additional enhancement will include virtual brochures, and ordering and paying for safety educational products online through the Roadwork website.

I find the irony in this hilarious considering the Department of Public Works and Noelani Whittington herself tried to Blacklist Bloggers:

Tim Esaki Named Deputy Public Works Director

From the Mayors Office:

Tim T. Esaki has been appointed Deputy Director of the Hawai‘i County Department of Public Works, department director Warren Lee announced today.

Tim T. Esaki

Tim T. Esaki

Esaki, a certified public accountant who resides in Kamuela, has an extensive background in accounting, finance and operations.  He was an Audit Senior Manager at Ernst Young, LLP in Honolulu where he worked for 13 years before moving to the Big Island.

Esaki was most recently employed as Senior Vice President of Finance and Accounting at 1250 Oceanside Partners, the developer of the Hokuli’a project in Kona.

Esaki received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, double-majoring in Accounting and Management Information Systems, from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa in 1986.

“The addition of Tim to the County of Hawaii and the Department of Public Works team is a blessing.  His unique set of business skills, strong financial background and auditing experience will assist the DPW in moving forward and improving through these difficult economic times” said Warren Lee.

“I appreciate this opportunity to serve our county and am looking forward to the opportunity to help address some of the challenges and pressing concerns facing our department and our community” said Esaki.

Aaron Stene’s Letter to the Hawaii Tribune Regarding Bloggers Being Blackballed by DPW

Aaron Stene has submitted the following letter to the Hawaii Tribune regarding the recent Department of Public Work directive blackballing Aaron, Dave and myself.

“I was thoroughly disgusted to find out that the Hawaii County Department of Public Works had implemented a directive barring any DPW employees from talking to me, Damon Tucker, or David Corrigan. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why they did this.We all have the highest profile blogs on the island.

However it is still perplexing why Damon Tucker and to a degree, David Corrigan were included. Damon has had limited contact with the DPW and simply republishes information which is publicly available off of Hawaii County’s web site. On the other hand,David Corrigan was included because he filmed the Hawaii County DPW resurfacing Saddle Road last summer. The latter is the subject of litigation due to someone in the DPW buying asphalt tack coat from Grace Pacific when they had a binding contract to buy it from HMP Inc.

In my opinion, Noelani Whittington tried to control the flow of information about DPW projects with this directive.But instead it turns into a huge blunder on her part. I’m hoping she gets reprimanded for crafting this illogical and illegal directive.

Aaron Stene