The Hawaii Department of Transportation started a re-striping project on Keaau-Pahoa Road (Route 130) between Shower Drive and Kaloli Drive in Keaau this morning in preparation for the morning northbound contraflow.
The project, announced in a DOT statement released shortly before noon, caused a traffic jam this morning one Big Island motorist who’d been stuck in place more than an hour described as “Carmageddon.”
The striping work is scheduled Mondays through Fridays between 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The striping will add a permanent Pahoa-bound lane to Keaau-Pahoa Road between Shower Drive and Kaloli Drive and is expected to be completed in late August, weather permitting.
Motorists are advised that during the striping, the dedicated right turn from Shower Drive onto northbound Keaau-Pahoa Road will be allowed during the morning rush with cones to separate the turning traffic from oncoming northbound traffic on Keaau-Pahoa Road. Motorists are asked to drive with caution in the area. This measure is being taken to mitigate the congestion experienced on the first day of restriping; however, after the striping is complete, the dedicated right turn will be removed to encourage drivers to use the main road instead of the privately-owned back roads.
After the striping is complete, DOT will begin operating the morning northbound contraflow to provide two northbound lanes from Kaloli Drive to Shower Drive. Setup of the contraflow will be similar to the contraflow tested in April and May of 2018 that showed a time savings of 15 minutes for northbound motorists, according to the statement.
Contraflow operations are expected to begin Monday, Aug. 26. Additional information on the contraflow will be released as the striping project progresses.