Saddle Road Dedicated as Sen. Daniel K. Inouye Memorial Highway

KONA ““ On what would have been the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye’s 89th birthday, a highway named in his honor has opened to bridge East and West Hawaii.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (DOT) today opened the newest section of the former Hawaii Saddle Road, a nine-mile portion from Mile Post 42 to the Mamalahoa Highway (Route 190), which also marked the completion of 41 miles of highway built since the project started construction in 2004.

In honor of Sen. Inouye’s vision and dedication to the project, the 2013 Hawaii Legislature passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 43 to rename the 41-mile upgraded section of Hawaii Saddle Road to the Senator Daniel K. Inouye Highway. Gov. Neil Abercrombie joined members of the Inouye family, former colleagues, and other government officials at the opening and renaming ceremony.

“We have come this far due to the vision Senator Inouye shared with the project’s many partners, including the Saddle Road Task Force, Hawaii Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, and Department of the Army,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “Once one of the most precarious highways in the state, the Senator Daniel K. Inouye Highway is now a safer and more efficient travel route connecting East and West Hawaii communities.”

To date, $290 million dollars has been awarded for construction from federal, state, Department of the Army and other sources.

“During his lifetime, Senator Inouye made incredible contributions to this country and the state of Hawaii, we are honored and pleased that this vital connector for Hawaii Island will carry his name,” said DOT Director Glenn M. Okimoto.

Senator Daniel K. Inouye was an early advocate for rebuilding Saddle Road. He convened a diverse group of cross-island stakeholders as the Saddle Road Task Force.  The Saddle Road Task Force is made up of a dedicated and diverse group of community members who continue to work as liaisons as this project moves towards completion.

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Senator Russell Ruderman, Senator Gil Kahele, Governor Neil Abercrombie, Representative Nicole Lowen, Representative Clift Tsuji, and Mayor Billy Kenoi.

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