LETTER: Public in the Dark on Queen K Highway Expansion
The West Hawaii community deserves an update on the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening project. The Hawaii Department of Transportation and Federal Highways Administration are keeping the ongoing Section 106 consultation process under wraps, so the community is essentially blacked out.
I understand the discussions between the native Hawaiian organizations and the FHWA/HDOT are strictly confidential. However, this restriction doesn’t stop them from telling our politicians wildly fluctuating project start dates. For example, the HDOT director told Senator Green the project would begin June a few months ago. Then a few days ago Representative Denny Coffman announced the project would begin September. What gives???
The widening of Queen Kaahumanu Highway was supposed to be completed about three years ago. However, this project has faced a litany of challenges ranging from two unsuccessful bid protests and the ongoing Section 106 consultations. The latter process, which has dragged on for 18 months, HDOT and FHWA are doing a poor job keeping the public informed. The poster child for this is the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening website. HDOT hasn’t updated it since September 25th, 2012.
The current status quo of hiding behind a cloak of secrecy is not acceptable. FHWA and HDOT need to engage the community and provide genuine updates regarding where things stand with this project.
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