Emergency roads in Waianae could be opened more often


For decades, residents along the Waianae Coast have been asking for another way in and out of the area.

Farrington Highway is the only access to the west side of Oahu, and one accident or emergency can create a backlog for miles.

For years, lawmakers and other leaders have tried to find alternatives. Now, there appears to be a system in place that could mean using emergency routes more frequently.

“Even with one accident, it takes them a long time just to get the cops to move that on the side,” said Nanakuli resident Misty Manalo.

“I know we have the other access roads out here and I don’t know why there’s no coordination where somebody can be contacted so they can open up the roads,” said Nanakuli resident Wanda Nunes.

Now, officials say, there is better coordination.

There are four emergency routes: from Helelua to Lualualei, from Lualualei to Hakimo, from Hakimo to Pakeke and the bridge near Nanakuli Avenue.

The agencies involved just met and hammered out a plan. In the event of an emergency, including big accidents that require lane closures, the roads could be opened and when linked together, give drivers a way around the gridlock.

“HPD will do their inspections to make sure the roads are drivable as well as to make sure their officers know how to get the key and the keys actually have now, for the first time, a description of how to use them and what gates they open,” said Rep. Andria Tupola, R, Ko Olina, Nanakuli, Maili.

The city’s Department of Emergency Management has the authority to open the roads, but police can ask the city to do so if needed.

“How much would it help you if those roads were opened?” KHON2 asked.

“It would help a whole lot, so people can get home or go to work,” Nunes said.

While residents believe this plan is a good idea, they say it’s long overdue.

Tupola wants a bigger solution: a permanent access road “that you don’t need a key to open.”

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