The Senate

State Capitol

Honolulu, Hawaii 96813


NEWS RELEASE – for immediate release

June 6, 2016



State and County to provide funding for traffic mitigation solutions on Leeward O‘ahu


HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – Recognizing the long-standing traffic woes of residents on O‘ahu’s Waianae Coast, both the state and county have allocated money to move forward a project that will help relieve the gridlock for motorists during times of emergency.


Through the efforts of State Senator Maile Shimabukuro and City Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine, a total of $6 million will be used for the land acquisition, planning and design for an extension of the Waianae Coast Emergency Access Road (WCEAR).


“I’ve witnessed first-hand how Farrington Highway becomes a parking lot when there is any incident on the road.  It’s appalling the amount of time residents spend wasted on their commute and getting this access road extended will change that,” said Sen. Maile Shimabukuro (Dist.  21 – Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko ‘Olina, Nanakuli, Ma‘ili, Wai‘anae, Makaha, Makua). “At this point, some preliminary discussions are contemplating the WCEAR extension to be an elevated road at the back of the homesteads with fingers leading into the main arteries.”


$3 million in funding for a secondary emergency access roadway was included in the state CIP budget that was approved by lawmakers in the 2016 Legislative Session.  The Honolulu City Council approved $3 million in matching funds for WCEAR in its final CIP budget on June 1st.


“It is unacceptable that taxpayers do not have access in and out of the Leeward Coast when there is an emergency that closes lanes of traffic on Farrington Highway. The need for a more permanent secondary emergency access is of critical importance to the community,” said City Councilwoman Kymberly Marcos Pine. “These resources demonstrate a commitment from the City and State to improve transportation, and the quality of life for taxpayers on the Leeward Coast.”

Currently, an access road is open for Waianae residents during emergencies from Sea Country to Helelua Street. The $6 million in combined state and city funds is intended to extend the WCEAR further east past Helelua Street, through the Nanakuli Hawaiian Homestead community and provide other traffic relief for the Waianae Coast. Councilwoman Pine and Senator Shimabukuro will be working with DHHL, the City Department of Emergency Management (DEM), the Ahupua’a o Nanakuli Homestead, Nanakuli-Maili Neighborhood Board, Puu Heleakala community associations, Nanakuli Ranch, and other stakeholders to plan the extension. 


This project is one of several solutions proposed to solve the traffic problem and potential public road hazard for residents of the area. 


$300,000 in city funds and $500,000 from state and federal funding has been appropriated for a Nanakuli contraflow pilot project that will create a third lane of travel for westbound drivers on Farrington Highway from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. every week day, excluding holidays.  The mile-long contraflow lane is planned to begin at Piliokahi Avenue and continue past Helelua Street.


The state Department of Transportation and the City, in partnership with Oceanic Cable, are also installing traffic cameras at the four intersections that are part of the contraflow project, at Piliokahi Ave., Nanakuli Ave., Haleakala Ave., and Helelua St.  The traffic cameras will allow residents to view these intersections online, and will also allow the City to remotely control the traffic lights.


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