East Hawaii drivers might get a taste of Honolulu-style traffic beginning in March as a lengthy road reconstruction project reduces a stretch of Kamehameha Avenue from four lanes to two.
The $13 million project will run from Ponahawai Street to near the Wailoa River bridge on one of Hawaii County’s busiest corridors.
Lane reductions are expected to begin March 3, and will last until the project finishes in summer 2015, according to the county Department of Public Works. Traffic will still be allowed to flow in both directions.
Preliminary work is scheduled to begin Monday.
Construction will last between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. weekdays but lane access will be limited around the clock in construction areas, said Public Works spokeswoman Noelani Whittington.
Off-duty police officers will direct traffic but Whittington recommended that drivers look for alternate routes.
The Bayfront Highway and other roads that connect with Kamehameha Avenue will remain open.
Parks along the roadway will also remain open, said a spokesman with the county Department of Parks and Recreation.
In addition, the bus stop at the park-and-ride will be relocated to the Civic Auditorium on Feb. 10. The Mooheau bus terminal is not impacted.
The project involves roadway reconstruction, sidewalk replacement, the addition of bike lanes and new turn lanes, improved drainage, relocation of waterlines, new LED streetlights and curb ramps.
“The last roadwork that was done was only resurfacing,” Whittington said, adding that the project will be more extensive than previous maintenance efforts. “You are reconstructing the entire road.”
The Federal Highway Administration is funding 80 percent of the project. The rest comes from county capital improvement funds.
Whittington said the county has sought federal funding for the project since 2005. That funding was approved in August 2012.
She said Public Works wanted to wait until roadwork on Kilauea Avenue was finished before getting started on this project.
Public Works awarded the project to Isemoto Contracting Co.
Whittington said Public Works has coordinated with Parks and Recreation as well as parade organizers to mitigate impacts.
The Merrie Monarch parade, scheduled for April 26, will be slightly shorter as a result of construction, said Missy Kaleohano, parade chairwoman.
A Parks and Recreation spokesman said July 4 events will still occur, though road work might have an impact.
Email Tom Callis at firstname.lastname@example.org.