HONOLULU– Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced Thursday the release of $3.09 million in Capital Improvement Grants, $998,000 of which is allocated for Old Haleakala Highway Sidewalk Project.
The State funding matches previously appropriated County funding and allows the project to proceed. Upcountry residents have voiced safety concerns over the years for King Kekaulike High School students who walk along the busy highway to go to and from school.
“This sidewalk is a long-awaited want of Upcountry Maui,” said Maui County Council Chair Gladys Baisa. “I applaud Representative Kyle Yamashita and other Maui County legislators, the Kula Community Association, King Kekaulike High School Principal Susan Schofield and members of the community for taking the initiative in this important endeavor.”
The Mayor and Council have fully supported this project. The Fiscal Year 2013 Budget was amended to include $998,000 towards the sidewalk. Budget and Finance Committee Report 13- 28 noted that, because of the project’s advancement, “pedestrians will soon have a safer means of moving between the King Kekaulike High School area and the mauka portion of Pukalani town.”
The funds will be used for the planning, design and construction of a new sidewalk along one side of the Old Haleakala Highway, from Kula Highway to Pukalani Street. Students of King Kekaulike High School will benefit from the safety improvements.
“We’re very delighted that we are moving forward in this project,” said Shelley Maddigan, President of the Kula Community Association. “We are fortunate to have allies in County government such as Chair Baisa, who listens to our wish list and then goes to work.”
According to Kula Community Association board member Dick Mayer, the safety issues with the sidewalk have been around since King Kekaulike High School was constructed in 1994. “We have been working on this for almost 20 years now, and finally we can take it off our list of priorities,” Mayer said.
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