Contraflow lane starts Monday on Hwy 130 in Puna

Drivers are advised to stay alert this week as the state Department of Transportation begins its contraflow project on Keaau-Pahoa Road between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

During the hours of operation, the center southbound lane toward Pahoa on Highway 130 (also known as Keaau-Pahoa Road) will reverse and become a northbound lane between Shower Drive and Kaloli Street.

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Also during operating hours, left turns will not be permitted from southbound traffic onto Shower Drive, or from northbound traffic onto Pohaku Drive, although such movements will remain possible outside of contraflow hours.

DOT spokeswoman Shelly Kunishige said temporary “no left turn” signs will be placed at the intersection of Keaau-Pahoa Road and Shower/Pohaku Drive in order to make the new rules clear.

Drivers also are advised that the right turn lane on Shower Drive onto Keaau-Pahoa Road will not be in place during the contraflow, requiring drivers to stop on red and yield to northbound traffic when entering the roadway.

Kunishige said that some of the changes — particularly the removal of the Shower Drive right turn lane — is intended to discourage drivers from passing through Hawaiian Paradise Park in order to avoid congestion on Highway 130.

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With the contraflow in place, Kunishige said, congestion on Highway 130 should be less of a problem, based on data from a trial contraflow project the DOT conducted on the same stretch of highway in 2018.

“When we did the trial, it showed a 15-minute average time savings for each driver,” Kunishige said. “So we’re hoping it will do the same next week.”

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