Bypass solution is to not sell out the public

Sold out — many think they are with the new Lahaina bypass.

Initially it was to provide a bypass above Lahaina for island traffic to and from Kaanapali, Kahana, Napili and Kapalua — better for them and Lahaina. The first half of the bypass was placed over south Lahaina, but the next portion was not directed over north Lahaina as planned; instead it went south toward Olowalu.

The planners renamed it the “realigned Honoapiilani Highway.” The existing shoreline Honoapiilani Highway was to be still used, but now it will be blocked to through traffic, thus allowing planned upscale development in the shoreline area.

The result: Replacing the beautiful two-lane shoreline highway with a two-lane “realigned” highway mauka with stoplights. The major northern connection is at Keawe (the busiest intersection in Lahaina) and the “fix” reduces a portion of the existing and only highway through Lahaina from two to one lane. More population –fewer roads.

What should have happened was to extend the existing bypass above Lahaina north to Kaanapali and leave the shoreline highway open to thorough traffic. What should happen now is to not close the shoreline highway but use both highways by having a traffic light, roundabout or overpass near Olowalu with possible future shoreline highway solutions as necessary.

The result would be four lanes of highway, fewer problems at Keawe, ready access to the shore for all, retaining four lanes through Lahaina — all by figuratively not selling out the public and letting high-end development take over the shore area.

George Lavenson