Group finally meeting to seek Laniakea traffic solution

 

 

By Brooks Baehr      Posted: Jan 03, 2012

NORTH SHORE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) – After several delays and years of inaction the state has assembled an advisory group and will begin seeking solutions to persistent traffic jams on Kamehameha Highway at Laniakea on Oahu’s North Shore.

The beach at Laniakea is a safe haven for green sea turtles. Hoards of people hoping to see the turtles park on the mauka (mountain) side of Kamehameha Highway and stop traffic as they cross to the makai (ocean) side of the road. That slows traffic, and so do people hitting the brakes to check out the surf. The result is a bumper to bumper backlog that is worse than ever.

“I’ve been here since the late 80’s and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said North Shore resident Bob Justice. “I’m afraid to even leave my house because it takes so long to get back home,” Justice added.

State representative Gil Riviere has been pushing the state to address the problem since he was on the North Shore Neighborhood Board in 2005.

“Unfortunately the traffic is just getting worse and we’re having a hard time getting the Department of Transportation moving on the project,” Riviere told Hawaii News Now.

In 2007 the legislature appropriated $1.2 million to study solutions. But the money was to come from the state’s general fund, and, according to the DOT spokesperson, then Governor Linda Lingle had a policy of not spending general fund money on highway projects. She believed money for highways should come from the State Highway Fund, so Lingle did not make the money available to the DOT and the funding lapsed.

In 2009 the DOT secured a new $1.7 million in hopes of finally addressing the problem at Laniakea. In May, 2010 the DOT held a meeting to solicit public input. A citizens’ advisory committee was formed. It was to begin work in August, 2010, but not enough people volunteered to sit on the committee, so the project stalled and the DOT issued a call for more volunteers.

A sufficient number of volunteers representing a cross section of North Shore interests have now come forward. The advisory committee will finally meet for the first time on January 25, 2011 and consider options to the traffic woes at Laniakea.

“The traffic alternatives study will review possible realignments, bypasses, it’ll review overpasses, underpasses, cross walks, traffic lights, one way in one way out and different beach park scenarios. So it will review all of the possibilities of making a long term solution,” Riviere said.

DOT spokesperson Dan Meisenzahl said it is possible the state will come up with short term solutions to ease the traffic congestion, but it appears a long term solution is years away.

 

 

Brown Tree Snake May Wiggle Into Hawaii

January 03, 2012

HONOLULU, HAWAII – Due to budget cuts, the state Department of Agriculture has allowed the brown tree snake program lapse. The dogs used for cargo inspections were actually given away.

Representative Barbara Marumoto, R-Kaimuki/Kahala, will introduce legislation to get the inspections up and running again. Guam has 15,000 snakes per square mile that have eaten many birds, frogs as well as small pets.

The snakes have also disrupted electrical power when the snakes short out transformers. With increased military and civilian flights expected from Guam, Hawaii can inherit this problem. Besides affecting our environment, the brown tree snake could easily devastate our poultry and egg industry.

The Chief Clerk’s Office will begin accepting bills for pre-filing purposes beginning .on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 7:30 a.m. pursuant to House Rule 43, which states:

“The Clerk shall accept bills to be pre-filed within seven calendar days before the commencement of the regular session in the even-numbered year.”

Opening Day for the year 2012 is scheduled for Wednesday, January 18th.

To reach Rep. Marumoto, (R) District 19, Waialae Iki, Kalani Valley, Waialae Nui, Diamond Head, Kahala, Kaimuki, call Office 808-586-6310, Fax 808-586-6311 or email her at repmarumoto@capitol.hawaii.gov