Deadly vehicle collision closes Pi’ilani Highway
UPDATE Highway was open shortly after 5:00 PM
A motor vehicle crash at the intersection of Pi’ilani Highway and Welakahao Road shut down Pi’ilani Highway, the main artery through South Maui, early Friday afternoon, the Maui Police Department said. Reports are there were fatalities and that the crash involved two vehicles and a motorcycle. Traffic is being rerouted down Kananai Road and Lipoa Street, according to a Police Department Facebook post at about 1:30 PM. As of 3:30 PM the highway was still closed, and most East-West streets were gridlocked heading west. Halekuai St (shown) is a typical example. As the evening rush hour approaches the traffic situation is expected to worsen. We heard it said that motorists were advised to expect delays and to use alternate routes, but we are unclear just what alternate routes. Perhaps the North South Collector Road? Oh wait the County never built the vast majority of it. We see today where it terminates right at Halekuai St. Imagine if it continued right across the park to Welakahao Road (and beyond). What a difference that could have made. Our understanding is the next missing segment between Kulanihakoi and Waipulani is at least four years from starting construction, and that still means a missing segment in North Kihei. Will it be a contiguous road before sea level rise floods South Kihei Road? Or is the alternative the imaginary Pi’ilani mauka bypass road? Of course the real tragedy this afternoon is lives lost. By far the lesser resulting effects are traffic jams, and there is no comparison. By Monday, many sitting in the jams of bumper to bumper traffic who missed appointments, experienced loss of business, had ohana temporarily stranded and so forth will go back to their lives. The loved-ones of the deceased suffer the lifetime effects.