HALEIWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Department of Transportation on Monday installed temporary cement barriers at Laniakea Beach, citing pedestrian safety issues and concerns over traffic congestion as reasons for doing so.
The DOT released a statement today which read in full:
"The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is implementing a short-term project on Kamehameha Highway to mitigate traffic congestion near Laniakea Beach beginning today. This is in response to numerous public comments received concerning pedestrian safety and traffic congestion. The short-term project places barriers that will eliminate parking on the mauka side of Kamehameha Highway fronting Laniakea Beach for a one-month period. HDOT believes by eliminating parking of the mauka side of the highway, pedestrian safety will be improved by reducing the number of pedestrians crossing Kamehameha Highway. An additional benefit should be the reduction of traffic congestion, due to the reduction of pedestrian and vehicle conflicts. HDOT will be monitoring traffic flow to gauge the effectiveness of the short-term project to determine whether it should be extended beyond the one-month period.
Today's roadwork is a one-day installation. The single northbound lane closure was lifted at 2:10 p.m. and work is expected to conclude by 6 p.m. One more short-duration lane closure will be necessary at approximately 5:30 p.m. to load equipment onto trucks before they depart.
The short-term project is only a temporary measure to address pedestrian safety and traffic congestion. HDOT is also working on the Kamehameha Highway Realignment Project, Vicinity of Laniakea Beach, as the long-term solution to the shoreline erosion issue affecting Kamehameha Highway in the area. This project will address shoreline erosion by realigning Kamehameha Highway mauka from the existing location. Other benefits would be the improvement of pedestrian safety and the reduction of traffic congestion on Kamehameha Highway. "
The issue has been a heated and polarizing one, as many people have brought several solutions to the table over how to deal with people crossing Kamehameha highway to get a glimpse of sea turtles laying on the beach. Ideas include a pedestrian footbridge, a tunnel, moving Kamehameha inland and creating a paved parking lot on the makai side of the road.