Kauai is a small island trying its best to please a lot of people, with 1,372,682 folks visiting for Hawaii Vacations every year and 58,000 folks living here. Less than 5 percent of Kauai’s 540 square miles is commercially or residential zoned. And with one highway on the entire island, traffic is sure to become congested.
On the East side of Kauai, in Wailua town, the county is widening the lanes and adding a bike path along the Wailua bridge. The construction has been active for several years and is scheduled to be completed this summer. Traffic slows down considerably in this area as drivers are forced into one lane running North as the Southbound lane accommodates contra flow.
“The network of former cane haul roads provides an opportunity for this county to open up those roads, with a little bit of improvements, and allow some of the traffic to take advantage of those instead of putting it on the highway,” states County Council member Mel Rapozo on the Hawaii news Now website.
Efforts to relieve the traffic include contra flowing the lanes from Kapaa to Lihue in the morning and controlling the flow of traffic from the Lihue area to Kapaa in the afternoon, adjusting traffic signals, and lengthening a bypass road that avoids Kapaa town altogether.
On April 25 the county of Kauai began the bypass work by shutting down the Kapaa Bypass. The bypass, an old sugar cane road used to avoid going through downtown Kapaa, is closed for three weeks. In addition to lengthening the bypass, improvements are being done to the road itself and county workers are fortifying a bridge along the bypass that is showing signs of softening. The work on the bypass is scheduled to be complete on May 16.
Traffic jams in the Kapaa area come in three stages: 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., 11 to 2 p.m., and 3:30 to 6 p.m. If you are on the North or South side and plan on traveling to the opposite end of the island, be prepared to wait in the Wailua/Kapaa area, delays are about 30 minutes. Heading North, things clear up around Kialea Beach just outside of Kapaa. Southbound, traffic begins to clear once you cross the Wailua bridge..