Friday, June 25, 2010

Traffic Update from DOT

In response to complaints about the Wai`anae Coast's on-going traffic problem, Rep. Shimabukuro recently corresponded with Department of Transportation Director Brennon Morioka, and received these responses to her questions:

1) What is the status of the turn lane projects at Nanakuli and Haleakala Avenues?

Current schedule is to advertise the intersection project in February of 2011. We are wrapping things up for the Environmental Assessment and the design. We believe we might be able to finish by the end of the year if everything goes smoothly in completing the EA and we will advertise the project earlier if possible but that depends on the comments we get back during this environmental review period.

2) Is there any possibility of connecting these turn lanes at Nanakuli and Haleakala Avenue to create a center lane that could be used for contraflow in times of emergency?

The left-turn lane will be continuous through these intersections. Whether it is used to contraflow traffic in the event of an emergency is not for us to say as HPD takes control of the roadway in times of emergency. A contraflow system could possibly work but it would obviously depend on the situation and nature of the emergency so a contraflow system may not be appropriate for all instances.

3) Could Kole Kole Pass ever be used on a regular basis to divert traffic in times of emergency?

We already have an agreement with the military (both Army and Navy) that in times of emergency we can utilize Kole Kole. I will usually call General Lee and General Lee coordinates with the military on both sides of the road. It takes about 30 minutes for them to set up with appropriate staffing and inspect the road to make sure it is suitable for public use. The public can then use it as long as they have their registration, insurance cards, and driver's license.

My understanding of the agreement we have with the military is that we can request Kole Kole to be opened for emergency use on the weekends as well. The fact that they may be closed on weekends would mean that it would take them longer to staff up to man the posts. Not sure how long that would take. During normal operations, preparation time to handle the public is typically 30 to 45 minutes. However, please note that the use of Kole Kole is for emergency use only and not for an incident that might be cleared up over a relatively short period of time.

4) What is the status of the Wai`anae Coast Emergency Access Road?

This would be a City issue.

5) What phone number can the public call, especially on weekends and in the evenings, to find out where traffic is being diverted or to ask for traffic to be diverted, in times of emergency?

They could call our H-3 Tunnel Control Office for information, at 485-6200, or the police.

6) Are there any other comments you'd like to make regarding the Wai`anae Coast's traffic situation?

None at this time. But OMPO is in the process of updating the Oahu Regional Transportation Plan (ORTP) and will go out to public meetings later this year, I believe, to get comments and feedback from the public on this document. This is the long-range planning document for both State and City transportation projects over the next 20 to 25 years.

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