HONOLULU(KHON2) — The roundabout fronting Kalapawai Market on Kalaheo Avenue and Kailua Road leading into Lanikai is getting an upgrade.
Construction on the first of nine phases begins Nov. 21. According to the city, it should take two years to complete. Work will take place weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
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The first thing some may ask is: Why is it necessary since the existing roundabout was done just four years ago?
Rep. Lisa Marten (D) asked the city the same question.
“They said that what they had done was really only built to the standard of a pilot, temporary pilot project,” Marten explained. “The materials were not going to last. Things would start cracking. There’s standard safety features like having crosswalks on every side that are part of roundabouts, which they didn’t have on that. So they said they really needed to do it. “
The big concern on everyone’s mind…
“It’s gonna cause more traffic,” said Caleb Martin who works at Kalapawai Market right next to the roundabout.
“There’s gonna be a lot of traffic in this area. Poor Lanikai people,” said Kailua resident Pascale Hunault-Berg. “I live [on the other side of Kailua] so I will try to avoid that or take my bike more.”
Tom Cestare, president of the Lanikai Association, said they are in favor of it but are not happy about the timing.
“The first phase is going to be right during Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation,” Cestare explained. “It is a logistical nightmare. For one thing there’s only one way in and one way out.”
According to Representative Marten, during construction, traffic coming out of Lanikai will be contraflowed through the Kailua Beach Park area.
Cestare said that did ease some of the traffic during other projects in the area but that it is still a major inconvenience.
Businesses may also be impacted.
“I think it’s gonna also hinder business here because people aren’t gonna wanna, like, go around and then especially with this kind of parking it’s hard to get out. I think that’s gonna be a major problem here,” Martin explained.
Once it’s completed, everyone agrees, the upgrades, which include raised crosswalks and sidewalks, will make it much safer for pedestrians.
“People just fly through, they don’t stop, they don’t look both ways, so maybe actually might be a good idea,” Martin said.
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“I’m very happy about it,” Hunault-Berg said.
Till then, Rep. Marten said it’s all about: “Patience. It’s going to take a really, really long time.”