LAHAINA - Hearing complaints of traffic jams on Honoapiilani Highway near Lahaina Civic Center due to the Lahaina Wastewater Pump Station #3 Force Main Replacement, the county last week changed the traffic control plan for the project.
The $5 million project started on May 16. Construction on the portion under Honoapiilani Highway started on July 5 and will continue until Aug. 1, give or take one or two days.
With motorists reporting 15- to 45-minute traffic delays, the county on Tuesday began keeping two lanes of southbound traffic open.
County crews have encountered large boulders beneath Honoapiilani Highway.
One northbound lane will be open with the option of detouring excess northbound traffic onto Lahaina Civic Center Drive.
Starting last week Wednesday, traffic officers were added to manually operate the traffic light at Lahaina Civic Center to minimize the waiting time at the intersection.
These traffic control plan changes were reviewed and approved by the Hawaii Department of Transportation's Highways Division.
During the project, a new 20-inch force main is being constructed to replace the aging force main constructed in 1976 and made of ductile iron.
The deteriorating line ruptured on Feb. 8, 2007, resulting in a 687,500-gallon spill of raw sewage near Wahikuli Beach Park, and again on Aug. 15, 2011. There was no spill to the ocean in the second break, but Wahikuli residents experienced nighttime noise as crews worked overnight to fix the line.
The original plan was to impact Honoapiilani Highway for eight work days. There is around 750 feet of force main to be built under the highway.
According to the county, typical construction methods permit 100 feet of force main to be constructed per day.
But large boulders have been found under the highway, slowing the construction speed to about 40 feet of force main per day.
The highway will be impacted again during the repaving phase of the project that has not yet been scheduled. The county will provide proper notice of the work.
"Our (Department of Environmental Management) engineers are doing their best to address the unforeseen situation with the boulders, and we apologize for any delays," said Rod Antone, Maui County communications director.
"This is an important project, and we thank the public for their patience. Hopefully, by adding an alternate route and adjusting the lanes of traffic, we will have provided some immediate relief for motorists."
The project starts about 0.2 miles north of the entrance to Front Street and ends about 0.1 miles north of the golf cart bridge at the Kaanapali Golf Course. Most of the project is located on county park and golf course land.
Work includes building a new paved pedestrian walkway along the shoreline the entire length of Wahikuli and Hanakao'o parks.
Lahaina Wastewater Pump Station #3 conveys approximately 1.2 million gallons of raw sewage every day, servicing the Lahaina area from Puamana to Lahaina Civic Center.
This sewage is conveyed to the next pump station located near Kaanapali Parkway and eventually pumped to the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility.