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DOT: Clearing Along Volcano Highway Has Multiple Benefits

Posted January 30, 2014, 03:53 PM HST
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The state Department of Transportation is about one-third done with the clearing of excess vegetation along the highway between Hilo and Keaau. Photo by Dave Smith.

The state Department of Transportation is about a third of the way through a project involving clearing of brush and most trees along Route 11 between Hilo and Keaau.

The project on what is known as the Volcano Highway has several purposes, said DOT spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter.

A primary reason is to improve line-of-sight for motorists at intersections – the subject of many calls from the public, she said.

The clearing is also being done to reduce maintenance, particularly where the brush encroaches onto the four-lane highway, such as from the median.

An example of the uncleared median of Route 11, taken from the Hilo-bound lane. Photo by Dave Smith.

An example of the uncleared median of Route 11, taken from the Hilo-bound lane. Photo by Dave Smith.

Another reason is “beautification,” and Sluyter said the Outdoor Circle was consulted regarding the effort.

And finally, the clearing will provide utility companies improved access to their lines.

The project was started in September, and is expected to take about a year to complete.

The clearing is being done from the Lama Street intersection south to the Shipman Industrial Park.

In some of the cleared areas, compacted ground asphalt was put down in muddy spots to provide access for heavy equipment. Sluyter said vegetation is expected to eventually grow through the asphalt.

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