Recently, the highway department carried out some improvements on Kohala Mountain Road. The road is narrow and winding, though very scenic, and there are often accidents. The latest improvements added more guard rails and more yellow and black arrow signs to let drivers know they’re approaching a corner. I had a couple of observations about the work.
The guard rails are probably not a bad idea since anyone running wide at these places would be looking at diving into a gully or plunging down a steep hill. On the other hand, there’s virtually no shoulder where the new rails are and, in some places, none at all. So now, a moment’s inattention is likely to send a vehicle banging into the rail and bouncing back into oncoming traffic. We’ll see how that shakes out.
What made the biggest impression on me though were the new corner signs. They’re bigger than the old ones – all the better to see them then. But as I mentioned, it’s a winding road, so for about three miles there’s now a never ending sequence of these signs, pointing one way, then the other, then back again. While this is visually striking during the day, at night the effect is dramatic. The signs are, of course, reflective and impressively so, especially as they’re new. Driving along as the large signs flash up and past is like a carnival ride and I’m starting to hear calliope music as I pass. I just hope it’s not of those sinister rides where you wonder whether you’ll make it to the end alive.