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Roads, Traffic & Safety

Truck in the culvert Dec 2013.jpg

A washout on Pohakea Mauka Rd. in December 2013 swallowed a truck and isolated a community for 10 days.

The roads and bridges in mauka Pa'auilo and Kalōpā have a long, varied, and often confusing history, reflecting the evolving needs of the upcountry areas for transportation and access. Over a hundred years ago, the area was mostly in agriculture - large tracts of pastureland, sugar cane fields, orchards and farms - with relatively few homesteads.  Roads were tracks maintained separately or jointly by the landowners who needed access to their properties.

Wherever the Hāmākua Sugar Company maintained cane fields, the company also maintained the roads and bridges that provided access to the fields.  Maintenance of other roads above the cane fields was left to the needs and resources of the property owners.  PMKCA came into existence in a large part in order to help the mauka residents to address their needs for better roads and safer bridges in the mauka areas of Pa'auilo and Kalōpā.

Over the last 30-40 years, most, but not all, roads and bridges within PMKCA's service area have been given "county road" status, allowing them to receive enough (budget-limited) attention to generally keep them passable by most vehicles.  Over these same decades, the number of residences along these roads has increased dramatically, and often the age and lack of regular maintenance has taken their toll on road surfaces and bridge structures - and vehicles.

The PMKCA Roads, Traffic & Safety committee's role is to be informed about the conditions on our roads, to be an intermediary between residents with their needs for access and safety and the county Department of Public Works (DPW), so that road and bridge maintenance and repair projects are properly prioritized and completed in a timely manner.

When hazardous conditions occur - during serious floods, road washouts, or blocked roadways - the committee can work with county agencies and with our local CERT team to reduce the impact on affected residents or come up with informed solutions. 

We all love living in the cool, green upcountry landscapes of mauka Pa'auilo and Kalōpā. The Roads, Traffic & Safety committee plays an important role in making our way of life possible.

If you're interested in helping the Roads, Traffic & Safety committee

do its important job, send an email to

Paul Landau, committee chair:

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