Safeway Prepares to Open its Largest Hawaii Store

Doug Olivares
Doug Olivares

KAPAHULU (KHNL) -- In one week, Safeway will celebrate the grand opening of its 13th location on Oahu. People who live near the new Kapahulu store are gearing up for the increased traffic that's expected in the area.

Fifteen months after groundbreaking, the largest Safeway in Hawaii is set to open next Friday.

"This will be so handy for us, especially when I carry cat food, heavy, and all the heavy stuff," Nicole Lum, Kapahulu resident, said.

The new complex in Kapahulu features the supermarket, other retail shops, restaurants and offices. Some residents in the already-bustling neighborhood are concerned about the traffic.

"It's extremely bad. Kapahulu has always been bad without the Safeway," Doug Olivares, Kapahulu resident, said. "And I think this just adds to the problem."

New traffic lights are now activated near Safeway's driveway at the intersection of Kapahulu Avenue and Olu Street. Olivares lives next door.

"Every time the Makai traffic gets stopped, they back up here at this line and block all of our driveways," he said.

The supermarket says it scrapped plans for a gas station, and widened Kapahulu Avenue to create a separate left-turn lane heading into its driveway Mauka bound, in response to community concerns.

A company representative says, "Safeway is committed to conducting a second traffic study after the store opens. The entire process over the last three years has been collaborative with the community and that will continue."

"We have a lot of traffic here anyway," Lum said. "We have the new lights, so I'm sure it'll be fine. I'm not worried about it."

Safeway says it hired 300 employees for its Kapahulu store.