Captain Cook road direction change catches some off guard

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CAPTAIN COOK — Merge right, not left.

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CAPTAIN COOK — Merge right, not left.

Sounds simple, but a repainted stretch of road with those instructions for motorists caused some confusion for drivers passing through a Captain Cook intersection earlier this week.

The new paint job — where the southbound lanes of Mamalahoa Highway narrow to one lane south of the highway’s intersection with the bypass and Napoopoo Road — now forces traffic to merge right. The left lane, as of the completion of work Friday, is now a turning lane for traffic turning onto Captain Cook Road.

That road previously merged traffic to the left lane.

The directional switch seemed to catch some drivers off guard. On Monday and Tuesday, several drivers were seen making sudden attempts to merge into the highway’s right lane to continue directly ahead along the highway.

It also spurred one man to protest the change Monday. He, along with two children, waved signs saying “This is dangerous” and urging motorists to contact the county.

But Barett Otani, information and education specialist for the county Department of Public Works, said questions about the redesign were the first he heard.

The redesign, he said, was a field order “to provide for a more efficient traffic flow heading south through the Captain Cook Road intersection.”

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He noted the redesign was accompanied by a new sign advising drivers the left lane ends and “left turn only” pavement markings 400 feet ahead of the Captain Cook Road intersection.

Email Cameron Miculka at cmiculka@westhawaiitoday.com.

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