Traffic shifts makai on Queen Kaahumanu Highway

  • Chelsea Crespo and Christian Ruiz apply reflectors on Tuesday for the new makai traffic flow lanes on Queen Kaahumanu Highway. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Traffic on Queen Kaahumanu Highway backs up at Hina Lani Street before all lanes are switched to the makai lanes. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Lanes are stiped for the new traffic flow on Queen Kaahumanu Highway. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — Northbound and southbound traffic along the stretch of Queen Kaahumanu Highway under construction was scheduled to shift to the new road’s makai lanes overnight, with transition work expected to finish by 5 a.m. this morning.

The effort is part of the continued phase 2 of the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening project, which will widen that road from Kealakehe Parkway to Keahole Airport Road.

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After the transition of traffic, all motorists will use the makai lanes of traffic throughout the stretch under construction.

Vehicles will still be able to turn from the makai lanes onto most roads that intersect the highway going mauka, such as Kealakehe Parkway and Hina Lani Street, according to a graphic outlining the new traffic pattern.

In an update on Dec. 26, a website tracking the highway’s progress indicated that crews had completed a concrete swale south of Hina Lani and formed and poured 80 percent of a concrete median barrier north of that road.

Crews had also installed street light foundations and conduits on the mauka side of the highway’s intersection of Kealakehe Parkway and finished the graded medians throughout the project.

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Those in the area should keep in mind that areas that aren’t open to traffic are active work areas and, as a result, are closed to the public for any vehicles as well as pedestrians, joggers and cyclists.

Shelly Kunishige, spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation, said the project is still expected to be substantially completed by August.