Hookele Street extension opens

The extension of Hookele Street from Walmart to Hana Highway was opened to traffic at 10 a.m. Thursday, an official with contractor Goodfellow Bros. said.

The milelong roadway also intersects Pulehu Road, which has been closed for about a year for infrastructure work in the A&B Business Park, as it winds north toward Hana Highway.

Currently, traffic is limited at the intersection of Hana Highway and Hookele Street, said Scott Trundell, project manager with Goodfellow Bros. Only traffic on Hana Highway headed toward Paia can take a right onto Hookele Street. There are no other access routes between the roads for now.

By the end of the year, a new traffic signal will go up at the intersection that will allow access between the roads, he said. The lights are expected to be up in December, said Trundell.

That will eventually lead to three traffic signals within a mile on Hana Highway with the proposed airport access road and Dairy Road intersections on the Kahului side of the Hookele Street intersection, maps on the A&B Business Park website show.

The state Department of Transportation did not respond Thursday to a request for comment about the impact on traffic of having three traffic signal intersections within a mile on the major traffic artery.

Residents have expressed concerns about the proximity of the intersections on the major traffic artery. Among the residents expressing concerns about the new intersections was Kula resident and General Plan Advisory Committee member Dick Mayer, who in comments on the environmental assessment for the airport access road in 2012 worried about the “cumulative impacts” of the new airport road and the Hookele Street intersections on traffic flow on Hana Highway.

Potential for delays, congestion, safety are “especially important for the residents/commuters from Haiku, Paia, Makawao, Pukalani and Kula,” he said in his comments on the airport access road EA that appear on the Maui Tomorrow website.

The maps show the Pulehu Road spur from Hansen Road to Hana Highway meeting up once again with Hana Highway at the airport access road intersection.

The Hookele Street extension was a year and a half in the making, Trundell said. A part of the project included closing Pulehu Road to put in sewer, drainage, water and electrical lines for the A&B Business Park.

Trundell could not give a cost for the road alone but did say it was about 10 percent of the $30 million project, which included other items including an irrigation well.