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Maui Lani roundabout set to open July 30 or even earlier

Victorino urges to remain vigilant even with no new COVID cases in 8 days

MICHAEL VICTORINO – Don’t let your guard down

The Maui Lani roundabout is projected to open July 30, possibly earlier, with construction on the $3.15 million project expected to be completed early next week, county Public Works Director Rowena Dagdag-Andaya said Monday afternoon. 

“We are almost there,” she said, thanking residents, construction companies and those involved with the project.

The Maui Lani Parkway-Kamehameha Avenue intersection has been closed since June 15 with construction beginning April 27.

Residents and other motorists, who regularly travel through the intersection, had to endure rerouting through Waiko Road to get to and from Wailuku and use the intersection at Kuihelani Highway and Puunene Avenue to connect with Kahului. Residents in the Maui Lani Legends also had to deal with increased traffic.

Dagdag-Andaya said Monday afternoon that the full closure of the intersection cut construction time significantly. She noted that the roundabout in Kihei at Piikea Avenue and Liloa Drive took eight months to complete; the Maui Lani one took around four months.

The Maui Lani roundabout also had a deadline; it was planned to be completed before the start of school on Aug. 4.

Dagdag-Andaya reminded drivers to slow down when approaching the roundabout and to be aware of pedestrian crossings, which will be marked by flashing beacons.

More information can be found on the Maui Lani Roundabout page on Facebook and on the county Department of Public Works site at mauicounty.gov.

In other news from the Monday news conference, Mayor Michael Victorino said that more than 12,500 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Maui County, with 99 percent returning negative. He added that half of the ICU beds at Maui Memorial Medical Center and that a quarter of ventilators in the county are in use.

No ICU beds or ventilators are currently being used for COVID-19 patients, he said.

Maui County’s COVID-19 case total remained at 135 Monday, with eight straight days without a new case. 

But Victorino cautioned about people “letting their guard down” and said he wouldn’t be surprised if he saw new cases today.

With the county adding $3 million more to the HELP Program to further assist residents impacted by layoffs and reduced hours due to COVID-19, program officials said Monday that as of June 30, nearly all of the initial $2 million to launch the program has been approved for distribution to 12,000 individuals.

To qualify, applicants must have no more than $5,000 in liquid assets, which includes checking and savings balances combined. Individuals who have already received assistance may apply for additional assistance, but households cannot apply for assistance more than once in a 30-day period. 

MEO CEO Debbie Cabebe, whose organization is administering the program, offered tips to applicants and those receiving assistance, such as to use their grocery vouchers within 14 days and that items, such as paper towels, laundry soap and trash bags, may be purchased with the funds.

The money cannot be used for alcohol or toys, she said. There hasn’t been an issue with alcohol, but there have been instances where toys were purchased with funds.

She also advised that applicants clear out their voicemail boxes on their cellphones and make sure they have a working voicemail system to receive messages.

Information on the HELP program can be found at meoinc.org or by calling 249-2990 or sending email to information@meoinc.org.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

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