HONOLULU (KHON2) — The scenic road to Hana, officially known as Hana Highway, has long been a point of interest for Maui’s visitors. But, it’s also a major roadway for East Maui residents who rely on its accessibility in their everyday lives.

Now, with less travel restrictions, more tourists are making their way back to the islands, leaving residents with a traffic congestion problem on the long winding road.

To help alleviate the situation for Hana residents, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) is actively working with Maui County officials and other state agencies to offer solutions.

The ongoing effort, along with proposed solutions for problems facing Maui’s tourism industry, is published under HTA’s Maui Nui Destination Management Action Plan. HTA says the plan aims to rebuild, redefine and reset the direction of tourism over a three-year period.

“We take seriously, the concerns brought forth by the residents of Hana and east Maui surrounding the impact of visitors in their community, especially along this main thoroughfare for which they rely on, and are committed to addressing them through viable solutions,” said John De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Some of the actions in the plan address matters such as:

  • Combating illegal rentals
  • Educating visitors
  • Two-way communications and industry collaboration
  • Resolving transportation issues and infrastructure

As for the Road to Hana, one of the solutions proposed by HTA to end overcrowding is to encourage visitors to join a tour from a permitted tour company instead of driving on their own.

HTA posted a list of tour operators with excursions to Hana here.

And state agencies are getting involved too.

On June 10, the Hawaii Department of Transportation announced it has installed approximately 70 “no parking” signs on Hana Highway, warning drivers about a $35 no parking fine and a $200 surcharge for illegally stopping on a state highway. Ten of the signs were installed in popular locations such as: Waikamoi Stream Bridge, Twin Falls, Bamboo Forest, Ching’s Pond, Waikalani Bridge, Puaa Kaa Park and Hanawi Bridge.

According to Maui Mayor Michael Victorino’s office, between June 1 and June 23, the Maui Police Department issued 389 parking citations and 83 warnings to violators on Hana Highway between Haiku and Hana town.

For more information, visit the HTA website.