Letters — Frustrated With The Lack Of Progress On Road Projects


I’m very disappointed by the lack of progress on two important (and
stalled) Big Island transportation improvements; the second phase of the
Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening and final east side Daniel K. Inouye
Highway phase-SR200(3).

These projects will help the Big Island’s struggling construction
industry, but neither has started yet. The second phase of the Queen
Kaahumanu Highway widening was supposed to start in 2008 and be
completed by 2010. However, it’s been held up for the past six years
because of two bid protests and a last minute Section 106 consultation
process, which is still ongoing with no end in sight.

The final east side Daniel K. Inouye Highway phase, on the other hand,
is being held up by a glacial right of way acquisition process. The
Hawaii Department of Transportation has acquired the necessary land for
this project from twelve out fifteen landowners. The acquisition of the
right of way from the remaining three landowners won’t be completed
until September 2015.

Both of these critical highway projects will improve highway safety and
provide much-needed jobs and economic stimulus.

Aaron Stene

10 replies
  1. Handyman
    Handyman says:

    Aloha Aaron Stene,

    Judging from the lack of any response, (besides mine) it’s obvious to see that your information is rather passé, don’t you agree?

    The importance of both road ways are common knowledge and we all seem to understand that because of the delicate maneuvering that is presently taking place for both these projects to continue, “we” as a “united community”, are giving those involved in implementing these sensitive arrangements a time to do what they do best.

    Would you please join us in support of those we all put in office to do there jobs? Nagging only impedes progress.


  2. Hugh Clark
    Hugh Clark says:

    “Glacial” is an apt description of state DOT process. If I were a Kona driver I would be perpetually angry by these maddening delays.

    In the Saddle inaction, what a sad outcome!

    Memory of Sen. Dan in so short. Aaron, as usual, is right on in his transportation commentary.

  3. Aaron Stene
    Aaron Stene says:


    How do you know the powers that be are working feverishly on
    these projects? Do you have inside information that you care
    to share with everyone?

    I’ve kept a close eye on both projects and they’re moving along a glacial speed. This is why I’ve repeatedly spoken up about this and will continue to do so despite naysayers like you.

  4. Handyman
    Handyman says:

    Aloha Aaron Stene

    I suppose you have the right to gripe, so carry on then.


    You calling me a naysayer is like the pot calling the kettle black.

    I’m rather satisfied with the way things are.

    I guess being informed has its benefits.


  5. Russell Ruderman
    Russell Ruderman says:

    While Aaron may have a legitimate concern, no one in Lower Puna can sympathize with Kona’s roadway needs. Puna’s need for a functional safe highway, not to mention an alternative route for our 40,000 citizens (who can be isolated from the world by an accident, a lava flow, or a tree falling,) is far more urgent than Kona’s need for any additional road or improvements. Come sit in Keaau’s 2-mile long parking lot some weekday afternoon, with no other way to go. I’m thankful that some progress is being made!

  6. Aaron Stene
    Aaron Stene says:


    You didn’t answer my question. What do you know about these projects that I don’t? I’ve done extensive research and have kept tabs on both projects for awhile.

    I called you an naysayer because you’d rather have me keep my mouth shut and not express my opinion about these delays.

  7. Aaron Stene
    Aaron Stene says:

    Mr. Ruderman,

    I am aware of the traffic issues on Highway 130 and need to mitigate this nightmare.

    I submitted this letter to BIC, so people would be aware of the Hawaii Department of Transportation’s failings with
    these two important projects, which are shovel ready (unlike the Highway 130 widening).

    If you believe they’ll complete the Highway 130 widening in 10 years, don’t bet on it. The second phase of the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening is fully funded and has a contractor waiting to start the project. Nevertheless, several issues have cropped up over the past 6 years, which have delayed the project.

    Civil Beat published a longer version of this commentary here, which adds additional context to my concerns.


  8. CCRider
    CCRider says:

    There is a theme here that I find running through many aspects of the administrative culture here. There is both a profound lack of communication, and a working theory that the best stuff ‘happens behind closed doors’. I see it in every aspect, in private companies (where, I will admit, can / should be managed however is desired by the owners) and especially in the governance of public institutions. Here is the problem with that. It is completely out of step with how most of the rest of the world operates (Yes, I know there are exceptions, I said most). It marks us as a backwards 3rd world economy and it only brings the kind of wealth and business that thrives in that environment.

    While their very well may be adequate reasons for these delays, it is equally true that there could be incompetence or worse at work here. There is certainly plenty of examples of the latter. How can the community at large know, without proper communication? Only if you happen to know or be related to someone on the inside? In any other place, there would be regular updates. You don’t have to give particulars, just a ‘case is involved in mediation or negotiation and is expected to be resolved by x time.

    But instead, when queries are made, the person making the query is insulted and implied to be stepping out of line. Because stepping out of line is a bad thing? Not in the America I grew up in.

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