To Mayor Arakawa, cc: Will Spence, Dave Goode Aloha Mayor Arakawa,
The community of Kihei is appealing to you for help on two important issues that we are currently facing. The first is the replacement of the Kulanihakoi Gulch culvert on South Kihei Road. The second is the intersection upgrade at the intersection of Kaonoulu Street and South Kihei Road. The issues are adjacent to each other on South Kihei Road at a location that floods frequently.
In 2013, the County DPW notified the Kihei Community Association (KCA) that they planned to replace the failing culvert at Kulanihakoi Gulch with a new culvert. Replacement plans included building a temporary detour bridge through the wetlands directly east of the existing culvert. In response, KCA requested that the County consider a raised bridge instead of another culvert, in order to deal more effectively with flooding at this location.
Since then, the local Hawaiian group, the Aha Moku Kula Kai, notified the County that the proposed temporary detour would impinge on sacred land including a fresh water spring. Community members suggested to the DPW that a prefab raised bridge could be installed, without the need for the temporary detour. Four pilings could be built outside the footprint of the existing road and a prefab bridge dropped in on top of them.
The Draft Kihei Master Drainage Plan of November, 2016, states that the proposed culvert replacement will not alleviate the existing flooding condition and recommends that a raised bridge be installed in this location instead. (page 20 and 21).
Still the DPW persists in planning to build the temporary detour and replacement culvert. The prefab bridge alternative will be more cost effective and handle floodwaters more effectively, without destroying a valuable native cultural site.
We request that you please direct the DPW to look at the prefab bridge alternative.
In 2003 an SMA permit was granted to Genesse Capital for the redevelopment of the Maui Lu Resort site. In 2014 the SMA permit and all the conditions were transferred to Kupono Partners, LLC. One of the conditions requires a traffic signal be installed at the intersection of Kaonoulu Road and South Kihei Road. The original owner had a larger development than the current design therefore DPW has determined that the signal is no longer triggered at this time. South Kihei Road from Long’s Drugs north to the intersection with the highway is a beautiful free flowing road that allows easy connection into and out of central Kihei, and the community wishes to keep it this way.
In 2003 and throughout the permitting process the KCA has been testifying that a roundabout be placed here instead of a signal. In 2014 KCA met with the new developers to review their revised development project. That meeting inspired the KCA to hire a world respected traffic engineer, Michael Wallwork, to analyze the intersection to see if a roundabout would work instead of a traffic signal. The result of the analysis is that the roundabout outperforms the signal in all areas of wait time, queue lengths, and ultimate capacity.
Additionally the South Maui Traffic Study is currently underway, and it is likely that the recommendations for this intersection may change. The original 2003 requirement for a signal at this location is an outdated response to an out dated traffic analysis. It is our understanding that the underground infrastructure for a future traffic signal has been permitted and will be installed. Construction is estimated to start in the next 6 months. Rather than have the developer install costly infrastructure at this time, we request that you direct them to place funds in reserve that can be used for future traffic mediation at this intersection when the South Maui Traffic Study is complete with recommendations.
These two projects will impact Kihei well into the future. While we see the orderly process of government occurring here, we also see that the valued input from the community has been being overlooked. We want to be sure that what is done in these two cases is best for the quality of life in Kihei. Please help us to make the right action happen.
(your name here)