Laniakea barriers to be moved, no parking signs to be installed

Posted on Aug 20, 2015 in Highways News, Main, News

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) will comply with a court order and remove the barriers placed along Kamehameha Highway near Laniakea Beach on Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. Work is scheduled to begin at 6:00 am and is expected to take 6 to 8 hours to complete.

State crews will be moving the barriers from their current location and storing them on the City property near the vegetation line. Although most of the work can be done off of the roadway, State crews will need to block one lane of traffic on Kamehameha Highway intermittently. Flaggers will direct traffic during any contraflow periods. Drivers are encouraged to allow extra time to reach their destination if travelling through this area.

The approximately 1000 feet of barriers were placed in the area to improve safety and relieve congestion caused by vehicles parking and offloading on the mauka side of the highway. HDOT assessments indicate that the barriers have successfully improved safety and reduced traffic congestion. A lawsuit regarding the barriers was filed against the State in 2014. When the court ruled on June 4, 2015 that the state must remove the barriers or reach agreement with the plaintiffs, the HDOT worked with the City, who owns the land mauka of the highway, on possible alternatives, including opening up a section on either end of the barriers to allow one way traffic and parking. Assessments and improvements are necessary in order to make any alternative safe, feasible and accessible to all. Unfortunately, HDOT was not allowed the time necessary to perform needed feasibility assessments or make improvements. To allow parking without making the safety and operational improvements necessary could subject users to unsafe conditions in the parking area, negatively impact traffic movement in the area, and subject the State to lawsuits and liability concerns.

Therefore, HDOT will abide by the court ruling and remove the barriers by the deadline. Parking will still be restricted 24/7 after the barriers are moved. No parking signs will be installed in the area. Drivers who violate the parking restriction risk being cited and/or towed. Jaywalking across the highway remains against the law.

HDOT continues to work towards a Special Management Area permit to allow HDOT to replace the barriers to restrict parking. HDOT is currently performing an environmental assessment that is part of the SMA permit application. Once the EA is complete a Special Management Area permit application will be submitted to the City & County of Honolulu for consideration.

HDOT appreciates the support and involvement by the City throughout the process. Representatives from the City & County of Honolulu have contributed to the ongoing discussions. HDOT thanks all the members of the community who have shared their perspectives regarding the barriers.

HDOT continues to work on a study to realign the highway further mauka. The project cost is estimated at $20 – $45 million depending on the preferred alternative. Agreement from public and private landowners would be required. Additionally, the potential environmental impacts must be considered, and it would take approximately five years after the environmental assessment is concluded, contingent on funding availability, to complete the project.