Transport of wind farm equipment will require road closures

Updated: Oct. 13, 2019 at 4:08 PM HST
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KAHUKU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii Department of Transportation is warning Oahu motorists of road closures and possible traffic delays on state routes for the transport of equipment for the Na Pua Makani Project beginning Sunday night.

Possible traffic delays are expected nightly between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on:

  • H-1 Freeway eastbound between Kalaeloa Boulevard and the Kamehameha Highway Offramp
  • Kamehameha Highway (Route 99) northbound between the H-1 eastbound and Ka Uka Boulevard to the H-2 Freeway
  • H-2 Freeway northbound from Ka Uka Boulevard to Wilikina Drive
  • Northbound on Wilikina Drive, Kamananui Road and the Joseph P. Leong Bypass

Due to the size of the transports, Kamehameha Highway (Route 83) between Waimea Bay and Kawela Beach Road will be closed daily between 12 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. beginning Monday, Oct. 14.

The timetables for the Kamehameha Highway closures are:

  • Road closed at Waimea Bay between 12 a.m. and 2 a.m.
  • Road closed between Pupukea Road and Sunset Beach Road between 1 a.m. and 2:30 a.m.
  • Road closed between Sunset Beach Road and Kawela Beach Road from 1 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.

No closures are permitted on Friday nights, Saturday nights, Halloween night (Thursday, Oct. 31), and the night before Veterans Day (Sunday, Nov. 10).

Motorists are advised to allow for extra travel time to get to their destinations.

Electronic message boards have been posted to notify motorists of the expected delays.

“Getting the parts here to the North Shore, getting them on site safely and then actually starting the build process, so it’s the next big hurdle to get past,” said Mark Miller, chief operating officer of the AES Corporation, which owns the project.

As the transports are set to begin, some residents opposed to the project are making their voices heard.

“We’ve been fighting this for over ten years now, and we want to be clear that we are for clean energy. We totally support the clean energy initiative, but wind power is not safe next to human life,” said Jessica Dos Santos of the group Ku Kia’i Kahuku.

There’s a pending appeal in court and lingering concerns about the turbines killing wildlife, such as the Hawaiian hoary bat. But the project has cleared all permits and regulatory hurdles. AES also has pledged to help fund a new community rec center in Laie.

“While we always have people that will challenge certain elements of the project, we want the community at large to understand that we are going to be a good neighbor,” said Miller.

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