Public should be engaged in Hawaii Island roadway projects

Daniel K. Inouye Highway
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Daniel K. Inouye Highway
Daniel K. Inouye Highway

By Aaron Stene- The Central Federal Lands Highway Division has partnered with the Hawaii Department of Transportation to do improvements to eleven bridges statewide, along with three upcoming Daniel K. Inouye Highway phases (SR200(3),  Daniel K. Inouye Highway Extension and west side Daniel K. Inouye Highway runaway escape ramps).

This CFLHD/HDOT partnership has already resulted in much-needed improvements to 40.27 out of 45.97 miles to the Daniel K. Inouye Highway. This is something everyone involved can be proud of. However, the HDOT and CFLHD need to do a better job engaging the public. These agencies have done a poor job thus far. I had to get updates through the project engineer between 2004-2011 because the CFLHD’s Daniel K. Inouye Highway project website was never updated.


Dave Gedeon, the said project engineer up until late 2011, then passed me off to Mike Will. He and Mark Lloyd provided updates up until mid-2013. Then he stated I had to go through the Hawaii Department of Transportation public affairs office for any additional updates. I had to go through other sources since then, as its nearly impossible to get any response from the HDOT public affairs office.

I escalated my complaints to Anthony Foxx, the Secretary of Transportation and Gregory Nadeau, the acting FHWA administrator, recently. Mr. Nadeau reiterated that I should go through the HDOT public affairs office and told me the CFLHD’s Daniel K. Inouye Highway website would be updated on a regular basis.

I highly doubt the CFLHD or HDOT will follow through on Mr. Nadeau’s promises, which is why I am writing this commentary. The CFLHD and HDOT need to do a better job engaging the public’s participation in these projects.

Aaron Stene is a resident of Kailua-Kona





  1. The state department of transportation in Hawaii doesn't believe they answer to taxpayers and its primary users. Haven't we all figured that out yet? It's an entrenched beauracracy that answers to nobody. If you ask the governor or your state senator or even your mayor about a project, somebody on their staff will simply refer the question/comment/issue to the black hole of the Hawaii DOT and you will never get an answer.

    The Airports Division recently began construction of a new airport access road on Maui, and the day that construction started, their contractor had one lane in each direction on Hana Highway at Dairy Road during rush hour. Nobody at the state DOT knew anything about it or why the re-striping and reconfiguration of the roadway occurred during peak afternoon hours. And nobody really cared either, because they don't answer to anybody.

    How is it possible to engage in an agency that only wants to remind us when they are doing work on the H1?

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