Puainako Street Extension, Island of Hawai‘i

The Puainako Street Extension, over 30 years in planning, was a County of Hawai‘i project to provide a critical link between the existing terminus of Puainako Street (State Highway 2000) in Hilo with the Saddle Road. County officials were faced with high accidents rates on the other route, Kaumana Drive, a curvy, narrow road with numerous driveways.

Geometrician Associates was hired to conduct first a State EIS, and when State funding was deemed insufficient, a joint State-federal EIS. The 4.5-mile highway traverses completely undeveloped land that was a mixture of first growth ‘ohi‘a forest on the 1881 lava flow and secondary forest on older substrates.

Important concerns included wetlands, noise increase to residential neighborhoods, high-volume if ephemeral drainages, and lava tube cave resources. An innovative mitigation project for impacts to wetlands provided funding for restoration of a rare silversword bog higher up in the Waiakea watershed. Opened in 2004, the Puainako Extension will one day connect with the realigned Saddle Road to eventually provide a truly modern and direct cross-island highway on the Big Island, linking East and West Hawai‘i.

back to selected projects