***Commentary*** Open Up Railroad Avenue To Alleviate Roundabout Construction Congestion

Open letter to the mayor and Hawaii County Council:

As of Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 3, Pahoa residents are adjusting to a new normal, detouring on the original Pahoa Village Road while the roundabout construction is underway on Highway 130. We are all going to have to learn how to plan for the traffic backup that is occurring as a result of this bottleneck that is happening at the ingress and egress to Pahoa Marketplace and also at the intersection of Pahoa Village Road and Kahakai Boulevard.
I would like to urge you to consider opening up the Railroad Avenue detour route you created last year when lava was threatening to inundate Pahoa Village Road.
While, as a small business owner in Pahoa Village, I would like to see more traffic flowing through town, I understand the frustration people are experiencing to be backed up on the highway as they approach Pahoa Village Road, having already experienced the Keaau Crawl in Highway 130 on their afternoon-evening commute. For those traveling to Hawaiian Beaches or Nanawale or down to Kapoho, it might provide a great relief to have another option to get home. This may alleviate the urge to kick the dog, after a long day and a lot of commute time.
Please consider opening up Railroad Avenue between HPP and Nanawale — it’s the right thing to do.
Tiffany Edwards Hunt

3 replies
  1. Jay Turkovsky
    Jay Turkovsky says:

    I have sent the following in emails to our elected officials:

    During the past couple years our Island, and specifically Puna, has been face with a number of natural disasters. During these times our elected officials have banned together to do the right thing. They have risen to their assigned duties to protect the safety of our citizens.

    Unfortunately, also during the same timeframe, the same officials have not paid attention to what has become our newest disaster, which is not natural, and in fact, caused by our officials. I’m speaking specifically of the construction project of the Pahoa Village Road/Hwy 130 roundabout. Somehow, the most unqualified transportation engineering department in the USA was allowed to dream up an idea that is totally inappropriate for a serious need. Worse yet, they applied an extra measure of their ineptness to traffic routing during the construction phase.

    Due to the above man-made disaster, we now, and will have for nine more months, a traffic issue in Pahoa that puts the safety of virtually every one of the citizens living South of the construction project at risk. The detour implemented by DOT is now causing backups that even impact our police and fire departments entering and exiting their own facilities. In addition, there is no way either agency can respond to any emergency calls south of this location in anything representing a timely fashion. This is a public safety disaster equivalent to or exceeding Iselle.

    Now is the time for our elected officials to step up and declare the lower Puna district the Disaster they have made it. Now is the time to open up the alternate Railroad Avenue route between Nanawale and HPP, recreated during the lava threat. This decision can be made by our Civil Defense Department under the instruction from our Council and/or Mayor. Let’s get it done!

    Get with it guys!

  2. Puna Ohana
    Puna Ohana says:

    Not! No it’s not a disaster. Let’s over use the word some more. So should we call the NG? FEMA? It’s a dumb idea from the gate, don’t drag HPP into thank you.
    WHO were the big advocates for this brainer idea? Route the traffic down through lower HPP somewhere by 3rd or 4th where there are fewer houses. Like down Jim’s street, he was all for this. lol
    Use HPP roads?, ok, pay a toll, they’re PRIVATE roads. This isn’t an EMERGENCY, it’s an inconvenience. You knew it was coming. It’s slower than the lava! WTF?!

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