Reviews on Nanakuli contraflow project mixed

Community weighs in on Nanakuli contraflow lane project, one month after it went into effect
Published: Sep. 13, 2016 at 2:05 AM HST|Updated: Sep. 13, 2016 at 3:17 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

NANAKULI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Leeward Coast residents gathered Monday night to discuss the pros and cons of the state's new contraflow lane pilot project in Nanakuli.

For the last five weeks, the project has added a westbound lane on Farrington Highway from 3:30 p.m.

But the contraflow leaves just one eastbound lane open in the afternoon.

"Making traffic coming in better has made traffic going out much worse," said Disa Hauge, principal of Waianae High School.

Hauge says since the cones went up in early August, her faculty and staff have suffered.

"Most of our teachers do not live on the coast so they want out the second school gets out. So we're having a real hard time to do things they normally stay to do after school."

The town hall was hosted at at Ka Waihona o Ka Na'auao Public Charter School.

Ed Sniffen, deputy director for the state's Department of Transporation, and state Sen. Maile Shimabukuro were there to get feedback on the the project.

Some Leeward Coast residents proposed adding a permanent additional lane on Farrington Highway..

"Before the contraflow, the traffic used to just stop and now we're literally moving," said Makaha resident Nancy Nicola. "I would beg them not to take it away from us."

Honolulu firefighters were also among the crowd at the meeting. They're concerned about their big trucks getting through the narrow lanes during an emergency.

"It's other companies coming in to support them," said Batallion Chief Paul Miguel, with the Honolulu Fire Department. "When we have a building fire, we're going to have multiple companies outside of this area coming this way."

Sniffen and Shimabukuro reminded the crowd that the contraflow lane project is only temporary as they look for a permanent solution.

"In general, there's twice as many vehicles going westbound than east, so from a system perspective it's working," Sniffen said. "But we want to see what we can do to try and improve things for everybody.

Shimabukuro added, "Eventually we'll have a win-win situation for all involved."

The contraflow lane project will be in effect until summer 2017.

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