(BIVN) – The Saddle Road Extension could be finished in about five years and cost anywhere between $63 to $74 million, depending on which alignment is chosen. That’s what project officials told island residents gathered in the Waikoloa Village Elementary and Middle School cafeteria on Wednesday night
Representatives from the Federal Highway Administration’s Central Federal Lands Highway Division, the Hawaii Department of Transportation, and hired consultants explained the background of the project. The microphone was then turned over to the public, who shared their opinion on which of three alternative alignments would be best to proceed with.
Residents had concerns about how the project – and, once finished, the new road – would relate to a planned waste separation and anaerobic digestion facility. There were also concerns about how the construction of the extension might impact traffic in and out of the village. Residents also expressed concerns about safety, especially in light of recent accidents on the existing road.
Most of the testifiers – the majority of whom were from the surrounding Waikaloa Village – preferred Alternative 5, which is north of Alternative 4 and “kisses” Waikoloa Road near Mile 3, as one testifier described.
There was support for the other two options as well, while some individuals and organizations, like the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, don’t have a preference as to which route gets built. They just want to see the project move forward.