Judge orders state to remove concrete barriers at Laniakea

Kamehameha Highway

The concrete barriers that have been in place at a popular tourist spot on Oahu for the past year and a half need to be removed.

The order came from a judge to the state Thursday afternoon.

The DOT put the barriers in place at Laniakea on the North Shore to help ease traffic, but the judge said people should have access to the area.

The decision comes after “Save The Laniakea Coalition” took the state Department of Transportation to court over the issue.

Prior to the barriers, it was common to see cars and tour buses double-parked with people zipping back and forth across the highway.

“I believe that the traffic has been improved, because most of the visitors have to park further down the street now and they’re a little bit more cognizant of the traffic,” said Sen. Gil Riviere, D, Waialua, Haleiwa, Wahiawa.

It has been an issue for years and the barriers were supposed to be a temporary fix.

On Thursday, a judge ordered the state to remove the barriers in 30 days as it waits to get the necessary permit.

“Bureaucrats who never go to the beach or never go up there and surf shouldn’t be allowed to just willy nilly close parks that the public has relied on and used for many, many years,” said Bill Saunders, the plaintiffs’ attorney.

DOT officials did not speak on camera but told KHON2 they continue to work with the city and the community.

According to the City Department of Planning and Permitting, the state needs to have a “special management area” permit for the barriers. The DOT did not need the permit originally, because the barriers were supposed to be there on a temporary basis.

But the department must apply for one now, and if the city does not approve the permit request, the barriers will need to be removed.

“They should have gotten a permit, in my opinion,” Riviere said. “Nobody supported putting them in for over a year.”

Riviere said the barriers have improved traffic in the area, but if they are removed, he thinks vehicles should be allowed to park there again, but not tour buses or shuttles.

The city said the DOT does not have a deadline as to when it needs to submit an application for the permit.

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