WAILUKU - Motorists don't have much longer to wait for the Kuikahi Drive extension to be opened, allowing another route between Wailuku and Kahului.
The signal at the new intersection of Kuikahi Drive and Waiale Road went into its flashing test mode this week, and officials said the light will be activated and the new road opened Tuesday afternoon.
While an exact time for when the road will be opened was not announced, Luly Unemori, spokeswoman for developer Maui Lani Partners, said it will be in the afternoon after a private blessing in the morning. Maui Lani Partners developed the road, which will remain private but open for public use, as part of its construction of homes, parks and commercial areas in the expansion of Kahului.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Romeo Dela Cruz of Kihei Garden and Landscaping Co. mows Friday afternoon along the shoulder of what will be an extension of Kuikahi Drive. Crews were working to prepare for the opening of the long-awaited alternate route across the central valley.
Department of Public Works Director Milton Arakawa said the new roadway segment will provide another option for motorists to get between Wailuku and Kahului. It should cut down on travel times and siphon some traffic away from nearby roads, including Waiko Road, Kuihelani Highway and Waiinu Road, and, to a lesser extent, Mahalani Street and Kaahumanu Avenue.
Unemori said the Maui Lani developers also recognize the new road should relieve traffic generally in Central Maui.
"The road is also expected to ease commutes for students and teachers at Pomaikai Elementary School and to Maui Lani's newest residential subdivision, the Traditions," she said.
But also, for the developer, the road will provide access to a site for a new 27-acre regional park near Pomaikai Elementary School; to a planned multipurpose building for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to Maui Lani Village Center, a mixed-use commercial and residential project that broke ground for its first building in mid-May. New buildings at the commercial center should be completed by the end of the year, she said. The project, including dental and medical offices, commercial services, gas stations and convenience stores, already is 35 percent sold.
"Area residents can expect new services and offices to open in 2011," she said.
Unemori said the new road also will have some safety features, including a driver feedback speed sign as the road approaches Kamehameha Avenue and a flashing beacon stop sign at the intersection of Kamehameha and Maui Lani Parkway.
"We want the public to enjoy the benefits of the new road, but we want them to enjoy it safely by practicing good driving habits," she said.
The new road's speed limit will be 30 mph.
From the west, the mile-long, two-lane road begins with Kuikahi Drive continuing through its intersection with Waiale Road and turning into Maui Lani Parkway. From there, Maui Lani Parkway continues to Kamehameha Avenue, near Pomaikai Elementary School
* Brian Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.