Loose cow that snarled traffic in West Oahu highlights need for alternate route

Honolulu Police shoot 'aggressive' runaway cow on Farrington Hwy.

WAIANAE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Even when there's not an animal or accident on the highway, officials say it's not unusual for Waianae Coast residents to sit in traffic for up to two hours to get home from town, and they say something needs to be done to alleviate congestion.

Mara Fuimaono was on her way home to Waianae when she spotted a loose cow on the road.

"The only time it got aggressive was when the guy tried to get the cow, and then what happened? And then that's when it charged my car," Fuimaono said. "Took my mirror out and swiped my car."

Fuimaono says this incident highlights why drivers need an alternate west side route.

"Normally the commute back home as well as leaving to go to work - it's horrendous, so it's really bad. I mean having only two lanes and a large population living on this side. It's pretty bad."

City, state and federal representatives held a town hall meeting in Waianae Thursday night to ask for community suggestions and solutions on how to alleviate congestion.

"We're looking at least connecting backroads and having a wider highway," Sen. Maile Shimabukuro said. "So when there is an incident like this cow that maybe there could be at least a fifth lane. And so there would be a little more room to reroute traffic."

Officials say one short term plan that may have long term potential is the current project at Nanakuli and Haleakala Ave - pull left turners out of traffic to allow it to move more smoothly eastbound.

"As we go through, we'd like to extend that fifth lane," said Ed Sniffen of the Department of Transportation. "From that point, we're going to end off at Helelua all the way to Black Point or Hakimo Road. Those are the areas that we see a lot of congestion that we could be assisted by either a left-turn pocket or a contraflow lane."

For years there has also been discussion about utilizing Kolekole Pass. But officials say even with the Navy's approval, because of the poor condition of the road, the city would have bus people in and out in extreme situations.

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