Daniel K. Inouye Highway bridging East and West Hawaii

Mrs. Irene Inouye, Governor Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi dedicate the former Saddle Road as the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Photo credit: DOT)
Mrs. Irene Inouye, Governor Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi dedicate the former Saddle Road as the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Photo credit: DOT)

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On what would have been the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye’s 89th birthday, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (DOT) opened the newest section of the former Hawaii Saddle Road.

Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi talked about his inspiration.

“He sat me down and said your task is to bring that island together. To make sure that it doesn’t become two counties, that it’s not east or west, or worse, east versus west. and that road goes a long to doing that. the time has been cut significantly, by a third,” Kenoi said.

Hawaii island may be symbolic of the work that the late Senator Inouye did. His legacy includes making certain all sides of an issue had the opportunity to present their case, whatever it might be.

A small crowd was on hand for the dedication of a kukui nut tree planted on the grounds of Honolulu Hale. A plaque fronting the tree was placed there in the late senator’s honor.

“The ability to bring together east and west and really bring a community together with public officials, with the military, it was a very special part of Dan’s vision,” Senator Inouye’s wife Irene Inouye said.

Irene Inouye was the first to admit that the late senator would shun the limelight on this day, but she also said that he would be grateful that people remembered his contributions to his beloved home. On the other hand, with a smile on her face, she said he would also say, “get on with it, get on with the job at hand.”

“They still have the part on Hilo to finish and so they have re-dedicated themselves to get that done,” Irene said.

Meanwhile, a healthy tree grows at Honolulu Hale, a living tribute to a Hawaii legend.

In honor of Sen. Inouye, the 2013 Hawaii Legislature passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 43 to rename the 41-mile upgraded section of Hawaii Saddle Road to the Senator Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

The section bridges East and West Hawaii and started construction in 2004.

The total cost of the project was $290 million that was awarded from federal, state, Department of the Army and other sources.


WHEREAS, the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye was born in Hawaii on September 7, 1924; and

WHEREAS, Senator Daniel K. Inouye volunteered for combat with the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team, earning several honors, including the bronze star, the purple heart, and the medal of honor; and

WHEREAS, after being honorably discharged with the rank of captain, Senator Daniel K. Inouye was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1959 and subsequently to the United States Senate in 1962; and

WHEREAS, in 2009, Senator Daniel K. Inouye became chairperson of the United States Senate Appropriations Committee; and

WHEREAS, at the time of his death, Senator Daniel K. Inouye was Senate President Pro Tempore, having achieved the distinction of being the second longest-serving United States senator during his fifty-year tenure with the United States Senate; and

WHEREAS, Senator Daniel K. Inouye helped to create a roadmap of success for Hawaii infrastructure by obtaining much-needed federal funds for Hawaii projects; and

WHEREAS, Route 200, known locally as Saddle Road, traverses the width of the Island of Hawaii, from downtown Hilo to its junction with Hawaii Route 190 near Waimea; and

WHEREAS, currently, the jurisdiction of Route 200 is unsettled, with the federal government, the State, and the County of Hawaii all having interests in various sections of the road as improvements are made and repairs are completed; and

WHEREAS, upon completion of the improvements and repairs, the State will have sole jurisdiction over Route 200; and

WHEREAS, the completion of Route 200 serves to represent both literally and symbolically the work of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye—the physical bridging together of East and West Hawaii and the bridging of the bonds between people, local and from the mainland, and at the federal, state, county, and private sector levels, with the aim of completing a single civic goal; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-seventh Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2013, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Department of Transportation is requested to recognize the significant accomplishments of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye by designating Route 200, also known as Saddle Road, as the Daniel K. Inouye Legacy Highway; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Governor, the Director of Transportation, the Mayor of the County of Hawaii, and the Director of the County of Hawaii Department of Public Works.

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