Group Wants Solutions for Maui Traffic

Theo Morrison
Theo Morrison
Jim Charlier
Jim Charlier

KAANAPALI, Maui (KHNL) - The issue of gridlock, and what to do about it, is a hot topic of discussion in west Maui. The group Lahaina Bypass Now released the results of a recent traffic study.

With the all the sights Maui has to offer, heavy traffic is one sight both residents and visitors would rather not see.

"This is everyone's problem" says Theo Morrison of Lahaina Bypass Now.

Although Maui has a relatively small population, about 120,000; the island welcomes another 2.2 million visitors ever year. And with construction booming, that is not about to change.

"The most important thing they have is their time so they're spending a lot of time on the highway. Then we have employees, trying to get to work" says Morrison.

Like talks of rapid transit on the island of Oahu, the talks here on Maui of a bypass road are 30 years in the making. But now, at least they believe they are making progress.

"There is a tremendous amount of frustration and we're doing is we're channeling that frustration into action" says Morrison.

The group Lahaina Bypass Now is working with the county, state, and area resorts to develop a master traffic plan. It includes carpools, buses, more housing on the west side, and the bypass road itself. But that is only one piece of a much larger puzzle.

"Because not everyone is just trying to blow through town some people actually live in town and have business in town" says traffic consultant Jim Charlier. 

For those who do pass through, 71 percent are driving alone. The plan now is to bring all those individuals together.

"This is paradise and i think part of the reason people are so motivated to work on this issue is they don t want six-lane highways ringing the coast like we have in some other parts of the islands" says Charlier.

Construction on the first small phase of the bypass road is scheduled to begin in about two years.