Significant Delays This Week on Highway 19

Drivers should expect significant delays this week as construction work on Highway 19 continues.

According to the state Department of Transportation, alternating lane closures on Highway 19 between mile markers 3 and 10 will continue every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Friday.

The closures will allow the DOT to continue resurfacing work on the highway, as well as complete a retaining wall in Wainaku.

The lane closures led to substantial traffic delays Monday, with some drivers reporting delays of 30 to 45 minutes.

Waa Waa resident Tom Ten Pas said he was caught in traffic for 45 minutes Monday morning while driving toward Hilo from Waimea. Ten Pas estimated that traffic was backed up to about seven miles out of Hilo.

“We counted 130 cars on the other side waiting to go after we got through the construction,” Ten Pas said.

Ten Pas said he was frustrated by a lack of signage warning of the delays and inconsistent traffic enforcement.

While notices of the closures were posted on the DOT’s website and shared on social media prior to the weekend, Ten Pas said any signs warning of upcoming construction were located too far into the traffic jam to be effective.

Without any substantial detours available, drivers traveling on Highway 19 north of Hilo are advised to factor probable delays of half an hour or more into their plans.

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