A finding of no significant impact has been determined for a proposed $17.3 million Waiale Road extension that would extend the roadway a little more than a mile and a half to the Old Quarry Road near the Maui Tropical Plantation.
The determination was made in a final environmental assessment for the county project aimed at improving traffic flow in Waikapu and providing an alternative route between Kahului and Wailuku.
The project also includes improvements to East Waiko Road, from its intersection with Waiale Road to Kuihelani Highway. Work includes repaving and adding asphalt concrete swales along with drainage improvements.
The extension would begin at Waiale Road's intersection with East Waiko Road near the Waiko Baseyard Subdivision. The extension road would run through fallow land and sugar cane fields, head south toward Maalaea and then curve to the west where it would meet the Old Quarry Road at Honoapiilani Highway, south of the Maui Tropical Plantation.
The 8,600-foot-long extension would have an 80-foot right-of-way and be designed with two 12-foot-wide travel lanes, 6-foot-wide shoulders, 6-foot-wide grass swales and a 10-foot-wide bike/pedestrian path on the west side of the roadway. There would be associated drainage improvements and landscaping.
County Deputy Public Works Director Rowena Dagdag-Andaya said that the project funding is expected to be 80 percent federal and 20 percent county.
She could not give an estimate on the completion date because the project still has to undergo permitting processes before construction can begin.
According to the assessment, the project is not expected to have an adverse impact on the surrounding land uses nor would it affect any botanical resources or have any cultural impact.
A historic-era boulder terrace was documented in the project area, on the south bank of the Waikapu Stream, under a proposed bridge crossing, according to the assessment.
But no additional archaeological mitigation would be required for the terrace site, allowing for removal if necessary, the document said.
Archaeological monitoring was recommended for any ground-disturbing activities from the project construction along East Waiko Road.
County officials have said that the idea for the Waiale Road extension dates back many years. The late former Mayor Hannibal Tavares green-lighted the state Department of Transportation's "Maui Long-Range Land Transportation Plan" to lessen traffic through 2020.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.