By ERIN MILLER
Stephens Media Hawaii
Parker Ranch officials are still deciding where the long-awaited extension of a Waimea connector road would run.
“It’s way too early” to say which alternative ranch officials prefer, Senior Manager and Corporate Secretary Nahua Guilloz said Monday. “We can’t really talk about it. We’re still working on the proposed routes.”
Hawaii County required the ranch to build a connector road as part of the approval for the Lualai subdivision. Prior to her election, Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille appealed the county’s initial decision to allow the ranch’s developers to build only a portion of the connector road, which now runs behind the housing development and the Parker Ranch Center.
In 2006 and 2007, the community objected to the Planning Department’s initial decision to allow the development without connecting the road to Mamalahoa Highway. The connector road was planned as a way to relieve some of the congestion on Mamalahoa Highway at the Lindsey Road intersection.
“Originally, that whole road had to be done before any development,” Wille said recently. “They pretty much got support of the community based on, they were going to put in that road.”
Wille said Parker Ranch officials are having a hard time deciding how to complete the connector road, from Pukalani Street to either Kamamalu Street or Mamalahoa Highway near North Hawaii Community Hospital. Taking the connection to Kamamalu Street would likely be costlier, Wille said, because of drainage issues in the area.
The ordinance approving the development refers to both alternatives, leaving it open for interpretation.
The councilwoman said she has also heard of mixed feelings from Department of Hawaiian Home Lands residents along Kamamalu Street. They wonder if the connector road will bring more or faster traffic to their road. But people also worry about the impacts of another direct connection to Mamalahoa Highway, she said.
“I want the public to be involved in this discussion,” Wille said, adding her preference would be to see an increase in pedestrian and bicycle access to Kamamalu via the connector road, even if it actually intersects with Mamalahoa Highway.
Wille will discuss the road situation at a 4 p.m. South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee meeting today at the Waimea Civic Center Conference Room.
Construction of the final phase of the connector road will be triggered by commercial development around the hospital, Wille said.
“It should go in,” she said. “We’re talking 21 years since it’s been committed to be built.”
Email Erin Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.