Ground has been broken on a new southern segment of Mamalahoa Highway Bypass on the Big Island.
Hawaii Island mayor Billy Kenoi joined county officials and members of the Kona community for a blessing and groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday.
The $27.9 million, 2.2-mile segment is expected to provide relief to drivers traveling in South Kona when it opens in 2016.
The bypass is located midway between the shoreline and Mamalahoa Highway. It starts at the southern edge of Keauhou and runs approximately 3.5 miles to the bottom of Halekii Street below Kealakekua’s Kona Scenic subdivision.
The southern segment will extend the roadway from Kealakekua to a new signalized intersection with Mamalahoa Highway in Napo’opo’o.
“The main thing is that people spend more time with their families at home and less time frustrated in traffic,” Kenoi said. “Our job is to alleviate and mitigate that congestion. It’s not about asphalt. It’s about connecting family and friends.”