Lahaina Bypass Phase 2 Opens on West Maui
On January 8, 2014, a new 2.5-mile roadway opened to vehicular traffic, providing a long awaited alternative to routing West Maui commuter traffic through central Lahaina Town. The project was completed seven years after Charlier Associates led an unprecedented transportation planning charrette involving more than 100 stakeholders in a break-through discussion of potential projects and traffic issues on Maui.
For decades, the Honoapi‘ilani Highway was the only connection between West and Central Maui, creating major problems for emergency responders, through commuters, and local traffic within the historic community and scenic vacation destination of Lahaina Town. In January 2007, Charlier Associates, Inc. facilitated a four-day transportation planning workshop for the citizens group Lahaina Bypass Now (see photos from the charrette below). The charrette was praised as an unprecedented success for its engagement of more than 100 stakeholders including Maui County, Hawaii DOT, and residents of Lahaina to examine solutions for circulation issues and highway capacity needs on West Maui. The goal was to create a consensus plan that reflected community values, coordinated proposed infrastructure projects, and ensured that great streets would be built to enhance all modes of travel and adjacent property values. The resulting plan, developed by approximately 200 people working throughout the four days, coordinated the design and interface of five new major infrastructure projects proposed for Lahaina. On January 8, 2014, Phase 2 of the Honoapi‘ilani Highway Realignment opened to vehicular traffic, providing an alternative route from Keawe Street to Hokiokio Place, reconnecting at Puamana. According to Bob Pure, former chairman of Lahaina Bypass Now, “Road travel in Lahaina will never be the same from today.” West Maui residents have been supportive of the building of the Bypass, and key design elements developed during the 2007 Charlier-facilitated charrette led to the successful implementation of this potentially controversial project. These include development of an access controlled highway with limited connections, limited development above the bypass, and preservation of traditional Hawaiian mauka-makai access into Kaua‘ula Valley. In addition, development of the bypass project will allow for new bicycle and pedestrian-friendly collector streets to help with local Lahaina circulation, and implementation of a “collapsible” design of the Honoapi‘ilani Highway. Charlier Associates proposed an innovative roadway design that included a planted median and phased implementation of new street features. Next steps for Hawaii DOT are to revert the old four-lane highway back to a two-lane street with bicycle and pedestrian amenities in an effort to transform the Honoapi‘ilani Highway from traffic artery to community asset. Links http://mauinow.com/tag/lahaina-bypass/