Lahaina Bypass Finally Underway


September 21, 2012

The Lahaina bypass initial phase will finally begin at the end of this year, after much anticipation. Drivers will be able to avoid the intersection of Lahainaluna Road and Honoapiilani Highway.

If you don’t know much about West Maui, downtown Lahaina is a charming spot full of restaurants, art galleries, shops and other attractions, particularly on Front Street, which borders the ocean. It’s a great place to go out for a good meal and some fun, making Lahaina real estate very desirable. For the same reason, there’s often traffic at the intersection mentioned above, which slows you down if you’re on the way to or beyond Lahaina. The traffic then also becomes a bother for Kaanapali and Kapalua luxury real estate, hotels, restaurants and the other attractions of that area, for both visitors and residents. That’s why this bypass is a big improvement.

Drivers will soon be able to use the partially finished bypass, according to Charlene Shibuya of the state Department of Transportation. The first phase of the bypass is mauka the highway (meaning toward the mountain, not the ocean), and includes one mile out of the nine that are being planned in the longer term. Eventually, the bypass will run from Launiupoko through Kaanapali and makai (toward the ocean) of the highway and Honokowai.

Some have been waiting for this bypass for many years, so the community is sure to be relieved that it’s finally moving forward. The bypass will also provide fantastic views of the West Maui Mountains and the ocean. As for when it’s finished, officials are having a hard time estimating because of the project’s dependence on state and federal funding. As Shibuya mentioned, construction momentum will help to keep things moving. Hopefully, the project will not take long to complete.

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