Between the years 2000 and 2010 the population in Makakilo increased by nearly 40 percent, according to the National Census Bureau. If the population continues to increase at this rate, the expected population in Makakilo by 2020 will be well above 20,000. Despite the population nearly doubling since the city’s establishment, no additional entry roads have been constructed. With Kapolei beginning to emerge as the “second city” the chances of the population slowing are slim. Many long-term residents of both Kapolei and Makakilo have been pushing for an extension of Makakilo Drive to connect with Kualakai Parkway, commonly referred to as North-South Road, for years. This extension is entitled Project OC7.
Those in favor of Project OC7 support it for a variety of reasons, the most pressing being safety. In cases of emergency, evacuation, or rescue, having solely one entry and exit would lead to major traffic back-ups and a lack of accessibility to Makakilo. However, traffic is also a daily disturbance residents endure. According to Neighborhood Board #34 Transportation Committee member Frank Genadio, Project OC7 meets the federal guidelines as a congestion management project and, with its completion, would provide a necessary additional access to the H-1. Furthermore, the estimated 8,000 drivers in upper Makakilo could save a great deal of gasoline by cutting their connection distance to H-1 nearly in half.
Despite Neighborhood Board #34 supporting Project OC7 and submitting multiple resolutions for the project’s completion, it is the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Policy Board, in which Councilwoman Kymberly Pine is a voting member, that approves projects for the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). According to Genadio, the TIP is the “key document for funding road and transit projects.” Although Project OC7 has been in and out of the program for years, the funds for construction were never allocated because the Department of Transportation Services (DTS) requires a final design of the intended roadway.
This design is to be provided by the DTS contractor; however, Genadio shares that many speculate they have been “dragging out” the design for years in order to avoid producing the funds for construction. Genadio personally believes “that it is deliberate – and Ms. Pine is going along with it.”
This project was rumored to have been talked about as early as 1978, and now 40 years later it has yet to see completion. An intermediate goal for Project OC7, suggested by Genadio, would be urging DTS to finalize the road’s design. Some may say that the Hawaii Department of Transportation and DTS, along with our elected officials, are hoping residents will forget about Project OC7. However, it is up to our community to decide whether or not we let that happen.
For those eager to finally see the Makakilo Drive Extension built, residents must put pressure on those in office to ensure that our community will not be forgotten.
The following people can be contacted regarding Project OC7’s progress:
- Senator Mike Gabbard: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Representative Ty Cullen: email@example.com
- Representative Sharon Har: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Councilwoman Kymberly Pine: email@example.com
- Councilman Brandon Elefante: firstname.lastname@example.org