New Kona highway opens Saturday


The new 2.9-mile Ane Keohokalole Highway opens at 3 p.m. Saturday providing motorists another means for traversing north and south in Kona.

The opening of the $30.5 million federal stimulus-funded roadway will follow a blessing slated for noon at the highway’s intersection with Kealakehe Parkway near the West Hawaii Civic Center, according to Hawaii County’s Office of the Mayor. The ceremony, which is open to the public, will feature county officials, representatives from each ahupuaa the road passes through and descendants of the Keohokalole family.

The road is named after Analea Keohokalole, the mother of Queen Lydia Liliuokalani, the Hawaiian Kingdom’s last reigning monarch, said Clarence Medeiros Jr., a direct descendant of the Keohokalole family.

Work on the highway, which runs north from its terminus with Palani Road to Hina Lani Street, began in March 2010, according to the county. Nan Inc., a Honolulu-based company, won the contract. Because planning was kept in-house, the county said it saved approximately $3 million, which was used to construct 2.9 miles rather than just 1.9 miles as anticipated for the project’s first phase.

The Hawaii Police Department said the highway’s speed limit has been set at 35 mph. It also noted that the intersection of Ane Keohokalole Highway and Kealakehe Parkway is a four-way stop.

Officers will enforce both the speed limit and intersection right-of-way effective upon the road’s opening, the department added.