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Letter for Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Better coordination needed for Hanalei access

Aloha School Early Learning Center in Hanalei has 32 children.

Today (March 29), a flash-flood warning went into effect while Kuhio Highway at Hanalei hill was closed.

I called Larry Dill of the Kaua‘i state Transportation Department and got his voicemail, which was full. Called the office. Shelly referred me to Willy Ortal, who was very concerned for our children and referred me to Randall Haraguchi, who called someone immediately to open the road to let parents through to pick up their child/ren from school.

Unfortunately, by this time the road closed by KPD and parents in cars were in line, including the school bus with Hanalei School children. Some were in line at the top of the hill trying to get to Hanalei to pick up their child/ren, some were in Hanalei, along the river, waiting in line to get across.

Needless to say, it was chaotic and stressful with the river rushing next to the road.

When a flash-flood happens again, what is the protocol with the limited road access for emergencies?

Please help us by getting a plan in place. Would you like your young child to be on the other side of the river overnight or possibly longer? This is very stressful for young children and parents.

The repair of the landslide and Kuhio highway is important, but getting children to school and back so our parents may go to work is also important.

The safety of our children and families is important, also. During the 45-minute window for parents to get children from school, traffic is lined up past Princeville and at times to Kilauea.

Insane.

Our teachers and parents have called Dill to either extend access hours or have parents bringing their children to and from school with priority access, possibly with a sticker or placard for their cars.

As mentioned in the schedule, the afternoon hours were put in place for Hanalei School hours. Aloha School’s schedule has been changed to reflect the access hours, and parents are carpooling, but still some do not make it across.

Why can nothing be done? Extend hours or placards for parents? If the road is opened for school hours, why not open the road just for schools?

Please help our families and children by extending the access time or giving parents placards for priority access.

A big mahalo nui loa to Shelly, Willy Ortal and Randall Haraguchi! All were empathetic and tried to help. I urge anyone out there to speak out for our keiki and families regarding this issue. The traffic will only get worse on April 5.

Aloha.

Leona Blankley, Aloha School, Princeville
Source: The Garden Island

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