Mamalahoa Kona Heritage Corridor, Hawai‘i’s first state scenic byway, receives federal grant

KONA – The state Department of Transportation (DOT) is proud to announce that the Mamalahoa Kona Heritage Corridor, Hawai‘i’s first state scenic byway, has received a $29,140 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, achieving the first in a series of steps required to be designated as a National Scenic Byway.

The Kona Heritage Corridor is a segment of Mamalahoa Highway (County Route 180) that runs between Honokahau and Honalo, passing through Holualoa, inland of Kailua-Kona. The Corridor was designated the first state scenic byway in March 2009, paving the way for federal recognition and funding.

“This recognition is the result of private and public partnership at its best,” said Brennon Morioka, DOT director. “This grant represents years of hard work, collaboration, and the commitment to not only preserving, but enhancing, one of the many scenic corridors in the state. We congratulate Pulama Ia Kona and appreciate the cooperation of the FHWA Honolulu office staff and Hawai‘i County officials in this effort,” Morioka added.

The $29,140 grant will help fund the development of a Corridor Management Plan (CMP) to recognize, preserve and enhance the unique qualities of this roadway. Through inventory, assessment and analysis of historic resources, the goal of the CMP will be to provide a meaningful experience to byway travelers while preserving the byway’s historic qualities of indigenous Hawaiian culture and European and Asian settlement. The CMP will also address such issues as local economic development and the level of commitment by government and the community. This project was selected from among 320 grant applications nationally and was one of 160 projects awarded in 43 states.

“In order to submit the grant application, Pulama IA Kona Heritage Preservation Council had to establish a Local Byway Committee composed of agencies and individuals from throughout the County of Hawai‘i. This group will continue to spearhead the grant implementation efforts. We plan to continue to hold community meetings in order to enable all residents and stakeholders to participate in this grassroots effort to develop safe and meaningful experiences for travelers along the Mamalahoa Kona Heritage Corridor,” said Scott Seymour, president of Pulama IA Kona.

Through the CMP and its associated planning processes, local businesses, residents and organization stakeholders along the byway will be better prepared to preserve and enhance the area’s historic resources and to provide travelers with accurate information.

Scenic Byways are highway corridors which are determined to have outstanding intrinsic qualities that make them distinctive and integral to their communities. These include such qualities as scenery, recreational activities, cultural sites, archaeological features, natural areas, and/or historic qualities.

The National Scenic Byways Program (NSBP) is part of the U.S. DOT, Federal Highway Administration. The program is a grass-roots collaborative effort established to help recognize, preserve and enhance selected roads throughout the United States. Since 1992, the National Scenic Byways Program has funded 2,832 projects for state and nationally designated byway routes in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation has recognized these selected roads as All-American Roads or National Scenic Byways based on one or more archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities.

Recognition as a National Scenic Byway by the U.S. DOT can have tangible benefits that support our state’s transportation, natural resources, and tourism goals
It also provides opportunities for byway-specific federal grants for projects along these designated corridors. A full list of U.S. Scenic Byways and more information on the program can be viewed at www.byways.org

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