KĪHEI — Design plans for a pedestrian overpass across Piʻilani Highway to serve students of Kūlanihākoʻi High School were unveiled to South Maui community members at a public meeting Wednesday evening at the school.
The designs — which are 30% completed — feature an open-air design to minimize visual obstructions while providing safety for pedestrians.
Community input collected last fall helped to guide the Hawai‘i State Department of Education’s (HIDOE) selection of the Kūlanihāko‘i Street overpass location and design elements, allowing work on the Environmental Assessment to begin.
The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation will fund, own and operate the overpass. It has also closed the road-level crosswalk and will remove it after construction of the overpass is completed.
The pedestrian overpass will cross all lanes of Piʻilani Highway just south of the Kūlanihākoʻi Street roundabout and be compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines for all users. Construction will use concrete with precast girders at an estimated cost of $16 million, saving approximately $1.5 million over steel construction alternatives.
A draft of the Environmental Assessment plan is expected to be available December 2023, with a 30-day public comment period. The HIDOE anticipates applying for state and county permits in 2024 and project bidding to open in December 2024. Construction is expected to begin in May 2025, with anticipated completion in December 2025.
Building a grade-separated pedestrian crossing is a prior condition imposed by the state Land Use Commission for the Kīhei campus. In July 2023 Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen, Jr., announced that the county had granted a temporary certificate of occupancy certifying that the campus’s buildings are safe for use, with support from Gov. Green to indemnify the county “from liabilities that may arise from any items that are not in compliance with the Land Use Commission's requirements.”
Still, the HIDOE remains committed to building the pedestrian crossing.
The temporary certificate of occupancy allowed the long-awaited campus to physically open this school year — with freshmen and sophomores — based on a temporary pedestrian safety plan that includes shuttles for students walking to and from school until the new pedestrian overpass is constructed. The campus was able to host Lāhaināluna Highʻs displaced students and staff for several weeks after the Maui wildfires until the Lāhainā campuses could reopen safely after fall break.