Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening project
Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening project

BY AARON STENE – The Hawaii Department of Transportation needs to do a better job in disseminating project information to the public at large. The Hawaii Department of Transportation public affairs office seems to be understaffed, as it takes awhile to get a response and sometimes the information is not correct.

For example, recent articles about the Daniel K. Inouye Highway project contained inaccurate information concerning total cost, start location of last east side phase among other mistakes. I’ve had to jump through hoops to double check that my information was correct as a result.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation public affairs office response queue times have also increased. I recently asked when the Kuakini Highway widening Environmental Impact Statement meeting would be held. I received a response stating it would take about a week to respond.

These issues started cropping up about mid-year when the Central Federal Lands Highway Division, Hawaii Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration referred all my inquiries regarding the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening and Saddle Road projects to Caroline Slyuter, the Hawaii Department of Transportation spokesperson.

I had to get any updates through alternative means because it usually took several days or even longer to get any updates through the public affairs office.

The Central Federal Lands Highway Division and Hawaii Department of Transportation have websites for the Daniel K. Inouye Highway and Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening projects.

Both of these agencies need to do a better job keeping these websites updated, so the public is informed about these important highway projects. This would a great first step in properly engaging the public.

Aaron Stene is a resident of Kailua-Kona

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