KONA, Hawaii – Mayor Harry Kim says its a high priority to finish the third phase of the Ane Keohokālole Highway, and one of the county’s foremost infrastructure advocates is holding him to it.
In a commentary recently submitted to media outlets resident Aaron Stene wrote:
Ane Keohokālole Highway Phase III should be top transportation project for Hawaii County in North Kona. This segment will connect Hina-Lani Street to Kaminani Drive, so we’ll be able to drive from Henry Street to Kona Palisades without having to use Mamalahoa or Queen Kaahumanu highways.
This will help address chronic traffic circulation issues prevalent in this area. Its frustrating to see the horrible traffic congestion on Highway 190, especially in the mornings and afternoon at Hina-Lani Street intersection. The intersection at Kaiminani Drive and Queen Kaahumanu Highway is another traffic congestion hot spot. Both of these issues will be addressed if the county proceeds with Phase III of Ane Keohokālole Highway.
There has been some discussion about resurrecting the Alii Parkway project in light of the completion of the Alii Drive Extension (Mamalahoa Highway bypass) instead of proceeding with Ane Keohokālole Highway. I strongly believe this would be a huge mistake. Hawaii County has spent decades and untold millions of dollars to construct this road with nothing to show for it. I highly doubt the lingering archaeological issues will ever be resolved, especially with the renewed focus on preserving sensitive Native Hawaiian archaeological sites.
The Hawaii DOT has started preliminary planing to widen Queen Kaahumanu Highway Extension (from Henry Street) and Kuakini Highway past Kamehameha III Road, which should adequately address the ongoing congestion issues in this area.
I hope Mayor Kim’s administration decides to proceed with Ane Keohokālole Highway Phase III instead of Alii Parkway. The latter project divided the community when the county tried to proceed around 13 years ago. Ane Keohokālole Highway Phase III is a better choice for the community.
The Ane Keohokalole Highway was touted as one of previous mayor Billy Kenoi’s top accomplishments during his first term. Yet current Mayor Kim has his own view as to who deserves the credit for the project.
In December, Big Island Video News filmed as Sherry Bracken asked Mayor Kim about the project, which he said came about as a result of the hard work of the Kona Community Development Plan Action Committee.
Regardless of who started the project, Kim said the priority is very high on finishing it.