Ask the Mayor: Why are Big Rigs Using Residential Roads?
Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his office staff.
Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email at [email protected], call 270-7855 or send them by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.
Dear Mayor Arakawa,
Q: Since Hansen Road was reopened, heavy truck traffic has increased dramatically on Lower Kimo Drive and Ōmaʻopio Road; 10-ton dump trucks, semis and tractor trailer rigs are common now. The trucks are clearly using what are essentially residential corridors as back ways off the mountain, probably to avoid the blockages caused by excessive numbers of bike tours on the main Haleakalā Highway. These trucks slow traffic to a crawl, they are too wide to stay in their lanes, particularly on the hairpin turns on Lower Kimo Drive, and the pavement is already heavily damaged from their use. They simply should not be allowed, at least on Lower Kimo Drive. What can be done about this?
A: I asked our Public Works director to check on this, and he spoke with a representative from a prominent cement company who said that while they do use Hansen Road to get around Kahului, they would not use Ōmaʻopio and Lower Kimo to get to upper Kula Highway. It is actually more time consuming and harder to drive than Haleakalā Highway and Kula Highway or Kekaulike Ave.
Additionally, when fully loaded, their trucks meet all HRS and PUC requirements for weight loading, including the number of axles and spacing of them; other cement and trucking companies also have to meet these requirements to stay in business.
As to truck traffic on Lower Kimo, I’m told there is at least one trucker who lives off Lower Kimo, where he keeps his rig. There would also be some truck traffic to and from any construction projects (there are a few homes under construction in the area).
That being said, while it’s not plausible that truckers would use a route that is steeper, more time-consuming and more dangerous than using the available state highways, it is good to have folks keeping an eye out. If you see unusual truck traffic on a residential road, you can call the trucking company to ask why they are using that road instead of the state highways.