Mahalo for state response to dangerous Wailea turn

There have probably been more than 100 crashes where Wailea Ike terminates with a sharp 90-degree turn onto Piilani Highway since that section of the highway was opened 30 years ago.

Almost all of the crashes are by visitors who are unaware of that sharp turn.

I have made many requests over the years for improvements at that location, some of which were incorporated by either the state or county, but the turn was still seriously dangerous.

I solicited information from the police. Since 2011, there have been nine major crashes where the police were called. A major crash is defined as one with people injured or damage greater than $3,000.

Eight of the crashes had injuries. Fortunately, none have been fatal. On Nov. 23, 2019, there was exceptionally bad crash. A 2,700-pound concrete block to which the guardrail was attached was ripped out of the ground and flipped like it was a coin.

I submitted that information to the Hawaii Department of Transportation along with photographs, additional information about crashes there over the past 30 years, and a plea for flashing lights to warn of the sharp turn.

In March 2020, six flashing LED chevrons were installed. The lights are stunning and visible from 300 yards away coming up Wailea Ike, night or day. It is now a year since the flashing lights were installed and there have been zero crashes.

Many thanks to the police for the crash summary report and to DOT highways for this great improvement in highway safety.

Buck Joiner



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