Kaumana Drive modifications hopefully will curb speeding

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County crews are putting the finishing touches on a Kaumana Drive repaving project with the goal of discouraging motorists from speeding.

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County crews are putting the finishing touches on a Kaumana Drive repaving project with the goal of discouraging motorists from speeding.

A 2.5-mile stretch of road from Akolea Road to Mohouli Street was paved in late spring. The poor quality of the road long had been a concern for residents, and County Councilman Aaron Chung made securing the funding to refurbish Kaumana a priority.

“That’s something that the upper Kaumana residents have been clamoring for for many years,” he told the Tribune-Herald last week.

Work was completed by county crews and funded by fuel-tax revenue. Materials for the project were estimated to cost $520,000.

With the paving complete Kaumana is easier to drive on, but speeding has become more of an issue, particularly since the road is not yet permanently striped.

“That’s not uncommon, especially going downhill,” county Department of Public Works director Warren Lee said.

“Even prior to the paving, that road has been a concern, with the curves and everything,” said Aaron Takaba, civil engineer in the Public Works Traffic Division. “I witnessed (the speeding) firsthand, walking the center of the road with the (striping) layout.”

The speed limit on Kaumana is 35 miles per hour in most sections, with slower limits going around curves.

Chung said he heard concerns about the speeding, but more people were worried about the temporary striping.

“I would say 99 percent of the comments that I get regarding that improvement are positive because it was a long time coming — 15, 16 years, maybe,” he said.

Takaba said striping of the road has taken time to get underway because paving needed to be completed to connect Kaumana with the driveways that attach to it. Poor weather conditions also interfered.

Crews began the permanent striping process last week, marking out the center of the road and creating a layout for the thermoplastic that will demarcate lane widths.

The striping plan calls for a wide center line, similar to the one on Kekuanaoa Street, and slightly more narrow lanes.

“When you have wide roads, people tend to want to speed,” Takaba said.

Crews also will add lettering directly to the road saying the speed limit is 35 mph.

“It’s just … not a good place to go fast,” Takaba said. “We want to encourage people to drive slower because there’s houses there and the road is not straight.”

In the area near Kaumana Caves, small ceramic markers will be installed to discourage people from cutting corners while going around curves.

“When you have pedestrians crossing the streets to the caves, back and forth to the parking lot — we want to keep people to the line,” Takaba said.

The project is a “top priority” in the Traffic Division, he said, with two crews assigned to complete the striping by mid-November.

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“Hopefully, it’ll make a big difference.”

Email Ivy Ashe at iashe@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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