HONOLULU (KHON2) — The City is in its first phase of the Kalapawai roundabout improvements in Kailua, but some in the area already want the project to be done as the improvements are causing back-ups for many drivers.
There was a line of cars coming out of Lanikai over the weekend. It is a drive to Kailua that usually takes a few minutes but some were stuck for almost an hour in the traffic jam.
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Kailua resident David Dunham said, “You’re killing about probably an hour and a half a day just to get in and out, out of their schedule; so it’s not any fun.”
Traffic coming out of Lanikai is being rerouted through Kailua Beach Park, while those heading into Lanikai Drive will encounter a single lane on South Kalaheo Avenue.
Kailua Neighborhood Board Member Steven Trecker said residents are now adding the time it takes to simply leave the neighborhood into their commutes.
Trecker said, “There’s people that have jobs where they need to get to work or need to get doctors, to hospitals and so forth. They need to get there without having to wait 45 minutes in traffic.”
The project will reconstruct the Kalapawai roundabout; the current roundabout was part of a pilot project. The improvements will also include raised crosswalks, new signage and pavers on the current shared-use path for bikers and pedestrians.
The work is being broken down into nine phases, and it is expected to finish by November of next year.
Lanikai Representative Lisa Marten said she also has experienced the back-ups and has advocated reducing some of the commuters impacts from the project. She said residents want to see more of a balance between construction work and commuters.
Marten said, “To restore access when they are not working, so, for example, over the weekend, they left the detour in place, nobody directing traffic, instead of covering up the work area with plates.”
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The City’s Department of Transportation Services said they are listening to the concerns of residents and have adjusted detours and extended Lanikai’s parking restrictions beyond the three-day holidays to help give some traffic relief to residents.
The detour going through the beach park is scheduled through Jan. 17.