The big news on Maui yesterday was the dedication of the final phase of the Mokulele Highway widening project, finally completed after years of funding requests and construction impacts. The total project cost $87 million and involved widening and realigning 6.5 miles of highway from Puunene Ave. in Kahului to Piilani Highway in Kihei. The old, two-lane highway was considered dangerous to travel and would flood during rain storms due to its low elevation.
The new, widened highway is four lanes and elevated with drainage structures. The Maui News story quoted Rep. Joe Souki, Speaker Emeritus and House Transportation Chair, who recalled that the initial funding was requested in the late 1990's when he was still Speaker of the House. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin story is here.
There is also a parallel bikeway and pedestrian pathway that are separated from the main road. Bikers and walkers seem pleased with this arrangement, although Rep. Joe Bertram, noted bikeway and trailway enthusiast, said he had mixed feelings about spending millions on highway widening.
“I hope this is the last four-lane road built on Maui. We don’t need any more four-lane highways,” he said.