HONOLULU – Today Judge Karen Nakasone granted an extension allowing the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) time to study a safe and feasible alternative to removal of the Laniakea barriers.
The courts originally ordered the removal of the barriers located along Kamehameha Highway by Aug. 7, 2015. The extension to Aug. 24, 2015 allows HDOT time to work directly with the City & County of Honolulu, the plaintiffs and the public on a feasible and safe solution to be discussed at the next settlement hearing scheduled for Aug. 18.
HDOT has heard from many community members urging the State to leave the barriers in place as they have improved safety and alleviated traffic congestion on Oahu’s North Shore. Others want the barriers replaced with additional parking. HDOT will be looking at solutions that could satisfy both. One possible option would be removing two barriers on both ends to have one way access and parking behind the existing barriers. However, the infrastructure is not designed to be a parking lot, and significant improvements may be necessary to make it safe and accessible for all.
HDOT continues to work on a study to realign the highway so it is further mauka than it is today. The project cost is estimated at $20 – $45 million depending on the preferred alternative. Agreement from public and private landowners would be required. Additionally, the potential environmental impacts must be considered, and it would take approximately five years after the environmental assessment is concluded to complete the project.