Picking up speed: HDOT says new signs for Saddle Road to be ready by February

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The cross-island trip over Saddle Road will soon be a shorter one, as the speed limit for portions of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway increases from 55 miles per hour to 60 beginning early this year.

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The cross-island trip over Saddle Road will soon be a shorter one, as the speed limit for portions of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway increases from 55 miles per hour to 60 beginning early this year.

“We anticipate the new signage will be installed in February 2017,” said Hawaii Department of Transportation spokeswoman Shelly Kunishige.

Signs are currently being made by HDOT Highways Division Hawaii District.

The new speed limit will begin at mile marker 12. A stretch of the road from Pohakuloa Training Area and ending a half-mile east of the Mauna Kea Recreation Area will remain at 45 mph.

“Speed limits on state highways may be adjusted as called for by changes in the surrounding land use and other safety considerations,” Kunishige said.

The initial proposed speed limit was 65 mph, as put forth in a bill introduced by state Sen. Lorraine Inouye during the 2016 legislative session. That would have made Saddle Road the fastest in the state.

Inouye previously told the Tribune-Herald she introduced the bill after hearing from residents who were ticketed after unknowingly driving over the speed limit.

In 2015, the department issued 2,219 speeding citations on Saddle Road.

Sgt. Robert Pauole of Hawaii Police Department Traffic Services said that enforcement along Saddle Road would not change once the new speed limit went into effect.

He said it was his understanding the speed limit was being increased to help overall traffic flow on the highway.

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“Hopefully the people who are speeding over what is prudent up there … will slow down, too,” Pauole said.

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

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