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MPO pushes back Puunene Avenue expansion in draft

The Maui News

The Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization revised its Transportation Improvement Program late last month to increase pavement reconstruction work on Makani Road in Makawao and defer improvements to Puunene Avenue in Kahului.

The Maui MPO is seeking comments from the community on its draft Revision # 4 to the plan covering 2019-22. The draft was released by the MPO Policy Board on June 28 and is available at mauimpo.org/public-review-comment.

The Transportation Improvement Program is a four-year list of highway and transit projects that will be implemented by the state and county and funded in part with federal money. Projects on the 2019-2022 program are limited to the amount of federal funding available during the four year period. Federal funds must be prioritized for system preservation and safety projects like road reconstruction, bridge rehabilitation, guardrails and rockfall protection.

In addition to the Makani Road expansion, the MPO deferred Puunene Avenue improvements to 2023 — a move that treats new state highway capacity projects consistently by putting them in the planning years of 2023-2024 until funding is secured, the MPO news release said.

New state highway capacity projects Lahaina bypass north, Puunene Avenue improvements and Paia Relief Route are among the top priority state highway capacity projects that can be funded with anticipated revenues from the additional rental car surcharge passed by the state Legislature. All three projects are now identified in planning years 2023-2024.

Specific location and design of roads and other transportation facilities are completed by state Department of Transportation and county Department of Public Works.

Comments on the draft Maui TIP Revision #4 may be submitted by July 22 by email to lauren@mauimpo.org or by mail to Maui MPO, 200 S. High St., Wailuku 96793.