Letters — About The Daniel K. Inouye Highway

The newly christened Daniel K. Inouye Highway is a huge improvement over the old Saddle Road. 40.27 miles out of 45.97 miles has been upgraded to Federal Highway standards. The remaining 5.7 miles, which is located above Hilo, is on hold.

The acquisition of the right of way is stalled and there isn’t any funding allocated for this phase. Both of these facets go hand in hand. This project can’t be funded unless the right of way is fully acquired.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation asked the Land Transportation Division of the state Attorney General’s office to start condemnation proceedings against the three holdout landowners in 2012. The state Attorney General’s office hasn’t heeded the HDOT’s request except to ask for more information in July 2013.

I’m deeply frustrated by the lack of urgency in this matter. The last Daniel K. Inouye Highway phase should be on a fast track, but it’s stuck in bureaucratic hell instead. The Hawaii Department of Transportation needs to expedite the land acquisition, so this much-needed project can proceed and Senator Inouye’s vision fulfilled.

Aaron Stene

16 replies
  1. hugh clark
    hugh clark says:

    With Inouye gone, we need folks like Stene to keep focus alive on the Saddle route that is without an advocate. Its completion is not going to occur on just warm memories of Dan Inouye’s long career.

    I miss Aaron’s closed Kona blog and contact with him via his shuttered e-mail site. No one I know is more informed on transportation issues on this island.

  2. Aaron Stene
    Aaron Stene says:

    Thank you for all the kind words for my past and current efforts. It is very much appreciated. I strongly believe its important to shine a light on much-needed highway projects that are stalled, such as the final east side Daniel K. Inouye Highway phase.

  3. NeighborWatch
    NeighborWatch says:

    Yea, as long as it isn’t YOUR land in the proposed “right* of way”. If it was your Great Grandmother’s land what you do? It’s alway those other people holding out, isn’t it?

  4. Aaron Stene
    Aaron Stene says:

    I think the benefits to the entire community supersede the needs of three holdout landowners. This segment of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway is not as bad previous segments. However, it still needs to be improved to Federal Highway standards, especially the segment in between m.m 6 and m.m 8.

    The state already owns the right of way in between m.m 8 and m.m 11. The holdout landowners are in between m.m 5.3 (on Puainako Street Extension) and m.m 7.85.

  5. Errol
    Errol says:

    I agree with NeighborWatch. To me, its more for your convenience rather than your needs. Have you not any compassion for the 3 remaining landowners? But you could care less, its not your property but someone else….

  6. Aaron Stene
    Aaron Stene says:


    I have absolutely zero compassion for these three landowners.
    They’re obstructing improvements to this last deadly segment
    of the Saddle Road. How many more people have die before this final segment is improved to Federal Highway standards.

  7. Errol
    Errol says:

    How many more people have to die before this final segment is improved? Your first victim, Friday Nov 29, 2013 Troy K. Pattioay on your new improved Daniel Inouye Highway. Have you forgotten how safe that side is? Steep down hill… All the warning signs tell you its not safe. They just build the biggest drag strip between Kona and Hilo. Check the roads for burn marks. I hope those 3 landowners stand firm.

  8. Aaron Stene
    Aaron Stene says:


    I nearly got into a bad accident in between m.m 11 and m.m 19 back in 2006. My truck spun out on control on a slick roadway. Bear in mind this was before they did the improvements on this segment.

    This why I slow way down when I drive down in between m.m 6 and 11. The existing roadway was design deficiencies that can’t be addressed without reconstructing/realigning the roadway.

    The State already has the right of way in between m.m 11 and 7.85 for this new highway. The three holdout landowners are in behind Country Club Estates and next to Puainako Street Extension.

    This is my last comment to you on this issue. If you wish, my e-mail is aaron@hawaii.rr.com.

  9. Errol
    Errol says:


    I never had a problems coming down that hill. Maybe you should review your Drivers Manual about safe driving. Most accidents are caused by the driver. I am not against the improving of Saddle Road, but it is disgusting when a person has no compassion for those 3 landowners. A person without compassion is uncompassionate, uncaring,
    uncharitable, unmoved, unpitying, unstirred,
    Unsympathatic, untouched, hard, and heartless. I hope you change your attitude. You need not comment to me on this issue and I do not wish to email you. But I will comment on any post…. So be it….

  10. Aaron Stene
    Aaron Stene says:

    The needs the community out weight the needs of these landowners. This is what I believed when the county tried
    to condemn one 3.4 acre parcel for the Mamalahoa Highway
    bypass. It took the county 11 years to acquire the right of way through this property.


    I’m speaking up because I don’t want to see this happen again with this much-needed project.

    I recently wrote a commentary, which adds additional context to why I feel this way:


  11. Errol
    Errol says:

    Here is a partial quote from an infamous person using the word phrase “without compassion”. Quote: Accordingly, I have placed my death’s-head formation in readiness, for the present only in the East, with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and “without compassion”, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (Lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians? Unquote

    We already have 3 ways to get from Hilo to Kona. Hamakua way was the ultimate route to Kona. When weather conditions did not permit us to use the Hamakua way, we went to the other two ways…Saddle Road or Kau. Saddle Road will never be a safe route to take regardless if the road is improved or not. The weather elements and fog will put you in your place. But people will ignore that especially with this new and improved highway, and travel at speeds around 80 mph adding to the danger. Convenience vs needs so thus shall we gain the living space which we need….

    I would have to agree with “Russell Ruderman” as he has 40,000 reasons why Puna needs a functional safe highway and an alternate or escape route from disaster. The “East Rift Zone” extends beyond Kapoho. The present “active flow” is headed in the direction of Pahoa. Puna needs an alternate escape route more than we need a convenient road between Hilo and Kona. I think their concerns are a much bigger issue than our convenient road.

  12. Aaron Stene
    Aaron Stene says:

    I find it amusing you bring up Sen. Ruderman’s comments in the other thread. The proposed PMAR will need a lot of community support, which there isn’t much of at this point.

    The reason why is politics (Shipman Estate) and large amount of land that will need to condemned in Hawaii Paradise Park for this road to move forward. In addition, DHHL residents living off Railroad in Hilo sent a letter to Mayor Kenoi in 2011.

    You obviously want the PMAR to happen. It will need to have land condemned, so in my opinion you are being a hypocrite.

    By the way, I only brought up this issue here to show the gross ineptitude of the HDOT/FHWA upper management in Honolulu.

  13. Errol
    Errol says:

    Your assumptions leads you to stupid opinions. I have not mentioned one word of condemned land….only you. My simple question was “Have you not any compassion for the 3 landowners?” You said you have absolutely zero compassion for those 3 land owners. You caused your own destruction of your own character. I have compassion for those or anyone else if their land is taken away or not. Not like you just for the sake of convenience. Nothing wrong with Russell Ruderman’s point of view. And why do you assume Shipman land needs to be condemned? Is that word “Condemned” always on your mind. You seem to want everything condemned…. And why did you go back on your word? Quote: “This is my last comment to you on this issue.” Are you being a hyprocrite?

  14. Aaron Stene
    Aaron Stene says:

    The only way the PMAR will get built is if the county condemns a large swath of land through Hawaii Paradise Park and through Shipman’s lands. This why I called you a hypocrite. You want a highway project that will need to condemned land, so why are you criticizing my advocacy of completing the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

  15. Errol
    Errol says:

    Again condemn is stuck in your mind. Why do you condemn everyone? Did you read my quote “Without Compassion?” That’s my main subject. Please read again my post May 23…Quote: “I am not against the improving of Saddle Road, but it is disgusting when a person has no compassion for those 3 landowners.” Do you critique me before reading????? As for Puna escape route? I have no idea how they are going to do it or what Shipman will do. I do not misjudge Shipman like you do. You are just a person without compassion for those 3 and probably anyone who stands in your path. You said it, I didn’t… LOL LOL LOL
    Please make more comments back to me…you are just showing me your true colors…..thank you 🙂

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