The acquisition the of right of way for highway projects is an ongoing
issue for the State and County of Hawaii it seems. Two projects come to
mind; the second phase of the Mamalahoa Highway bypass and the final
east side phase of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.
The Coupe family single-handedly held up the Mamalahoa Highway bypass
for 11 years. They fought the condemnation of 1,500 feet of their
property all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The US Supreme Court
declined to hear the Coupe’s petition, which ended their battle and
paved the way for the county to acquire the necessary right of way for
this much-needed highway.
I’m deeply concerned the final east side phase of the Daniel K. Inouye
Highway is facing the same fate. Three holdout landowners (Marvin
Arruda, Richard Alderson and Rick Towill) refuse to convey part of their
lands for this 5.7 mile highway. These parcels are located on the Puna
side of the Puainako Street Extension and Country Club Drive.
I’ve tried to ask the Land Transportation Division of the State Attorney
General’s office where things stand with the right of way acquisition
for this phase, but they refuse to acknowledge my e-mails and hide
behind attorney-client privilege. The Hawaii Department
of Transportation response to my inquiries isn’t much better.
The final east side phase of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway is currently
unfunded. I firmly believe its important to finalize the right of way
acquisition, so this phase is shovel ready when funding is available.