Motorists traveling Kahekili Highway despite closure

Despite a public notice and signs telling people to stay away, motorists are still trying to drive around the north side of West Maui and getting caught in a road-paving project area with no option except to turn around, Maui County officials said.

“It’s extremely important that the public understands the safety measures for the road closures,” said David Goode, director of the county Department of Public Works. “The paving machine is nearly the full width of the existing road, with steep drop-offs and high cliffs the area is famous for. The safety of motorists, bicyclists and our workers is of utmost importance, so we thank everyone in advance for their cooperation and understanding.”

The county’s public notice was issued Thursday; work on the second phase of the Kahekili Highway resurfacing project began Monday.

Still, Public Works officials report that “a high number of drivers, primarily visitors, have been attempting to drive around the island through Kahakuloa. Many have driven into closed areas clearly marked, ‘Do Not Enter.’ ”

The $500,000 resurfacing project is being done in-house by Public Works Department crews.

The highway is closed in the area of Kahakuloa from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The road is closed between Wailena Gulch at Nobriga’s corral, Milepost 11, to east of Kaukini Gallery, Milepost 13.4. Traffic from the Wailuku direction is not being allowed to continue to Kahakuloa Village during work hours. Traffic from Lahaina is being permitted up to the Kaukini Gallery but not beyond it.

The project includes repairing roadway deficiencies, such as potholes, depressions and cracking; resurfacing the highway; cutting and removing overhanging trees, brush and vegetation; cleaning and widening shoulders and pavement where possible; and paving shoulder swales for better drainage and erosion mitigation.

For more information, call Raynard Oshiro, Public Works Highways Division Wailuku District supervisor, at 270-7443.