The Federal Highway Administration has issued $3 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief or ER funds to the Hawaii Department of Transportation to offset costs associated with traffic management services and infrastructure repairs due to the wildfires on West Maui earlier this month.
[Above photo by Hawaii DOT]
The FHWA said this funding will be used for various items that will aid in recovery or to replace damaged and destroyed infrastructure, including portable battery-operated traffic signals; traffic signals; erosion control of damaged areas; signs; guardrails; jersey barriers to reroute traffic and protect pedestrians and workers; and traffic management services by the police.
“The Federal Highway Administration has been in close contact with Hawaii DOT and will remain so in order to bring the support needed in West Maui,” added FHWA Administrator Shailen Bhatt, in a statement.
“The quick release funding we are providing will help emergency service personnel, police, and other first responders obtain the equipment needed for traffic management in Lahaina and the surrounding area, as well as resources for repairs to infrastructure in the future,” he said.
The wildfires started on August 8 and President Biden declared them a major disaster on August 10, ordering federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the wildfires.
“We’re grateful for the continued support from our partners at FHWA and the speedy response to our request for emergency funding,” said Ed Sniffen, Hawaii DOT’s director, in a separate statement.
“[This] funding will ensure that we can minimize risks from dust, erosion, and other factors to our emergency responders, residents, and others that need to go to West Maui,” he noted.