East Hawaii News

Pahoa Roundabout Start Date Set

November 6, 2013, 1:29 PM HST
* Updated November 6, 3:35 PM
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Construction of a single-lane roundabout at the intersection of Route 130 and Old Government Road could start as soon as April, the state Department of Transportation said this week.

Bids on the $4.8 million project, the first state-built roundabout on the Big Island, would be advertised in December and awarded in February 2014, said DOT spokeswoman Patricia Wong. If that all goes smoothly, construction would begin in April 2014, she said.

The current intersection, T-shaped with no signal light, is located between Longs Drugs in the Woodland Shopping Center and the entrance to Pahoa Marketplace, and has consistently rated among the state’s most dangerous intersections since 2007.

Some area residents have clamored for installation of roundabouts at several Route 130 intersections, citing studies showing them to be safer than conventional traffic signals. Others oppose them, believing island drivers won’t know how to negotiate roundabouts properly.

Occupancy permits for the proposed Pahoa shopping center nearby on Old Government Road at Kahakai Boulevard were tied to the state’s release of funds for the new roundabout in a recommendation from the county Transportation Committee on Oct. 1.

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Funding for the roundabout project is 80% federal and 20% state, said Wong.

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Construction of the roundabout is expected to take 12 months.

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