The city hopes a new roundabout will ease traffic in Kailua
KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After years of complaints, the city is dramatically changing a busy Kailua intersection.
A roundabout is coming to the triangular intersection of South Kalaheo Avenue and Kailua Road.
The goal of the roundabout concept is to have vehicles moving continuously to ease the gridlock that slows down residents, visitors and even emergency vehicles.
"There is an acute safety issue that has to be dealt with, not to mention as I said before, the quality of life for people, too," explained Tom Cestare, president of the Lanikai Association.
A turn lane will be added, as well as a crosswalk on the mauka side of Kailua Road to allow pedestrians to cross in front of Island Snow.
The $350,000 project is expected to last 3 to 6 months, depending on unforeseen obstacles. Temporary road closures of Kailua Road and/or South Kalaheo Avenue will be required on Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
"I do have concerns about the construction period," Donna Festa, owner of Lanikai General Store said. "I do know with all the heavy equipment and stuff, it does affect the traffic flow of people coming into the business."
The city wants residents to keep an open mind to the project.
"There will be some inconvenience during construction. Yes, there are some folks in the community that say this will not solve the problem. What I say to those folks is, please give this an opportunity to work," said Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson.
There are roughly 12 roundabouts on Oahu, according to the city. Officials highlighted the one in Salt Lake as a success.
"That one handles and extremely high amount of pedestrian and vehicle traffic during school exit times so we believe a project similar to that would be the most appropriate solution at this location," said Mike Packard, the city's complete streets administrator.
Packard call the project an interim step while officials work with a consultant on long-term plans for the intersection.
During the construction of the Kailua roundabout, special duty police officers will be on hand but closures and contraflows are expected to slow motorists.
Construction is scheduled to begin on October 2.
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