New frontage road next to Queen Kaahumanu Highway coming

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KAILUA-KONA — Construction for a portion of a frontage road that will run along Queen Kaahumanu Highway is expected to begin today.

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KAILUA-KONA — Construction for a portion of a frontage road that will run along Queen Kaahumanu Highway is expected to begin today.

The .8-mile road is the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority’s portion of the street, which will provide improved access from the highway once the adjacent highway widening project finishes.

The improvements are necessary because access to NELHA on Makako Bay Drive will be restricted to right turns made off the southbound portion of Queen Kaahumanu Highway once the widening is finished.

Left turns from the northbound lanes won’t be permitted.

The project will extend Kaiminani Drive makai of Queen Kaahumanu Highway, with a traffic signal light at the intersection. Kahilihili Street, a roughly 1,000-foot road makai of the highway, would be extended, connecting the extended Kaiminani Drive and Makako Bay Drive.

Greg Barbour, NELHA’s executive director, said on Friday that construction will start today. The agency has contracted with Isemoto Contracting Co. Ltd for about $7 million.

Barbour said the project is critical given the way the widening project will affect access to the area and that he’s looking forward to the safety improvements that the project will bring.

“It’s great that we’ll have a nice, much safer four-way intersection,” he said. “That’s fantastic.”

Although the expected completion date for the widening project has been pushed back by about 14 months, to November 2018, Barbour said that won’t affect the frontage road.

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They’re starting construction just as planned, he said.

“We’re working with them to ensure that our project is done,” he said, adding he hopes the project is finished by late next year.

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