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Hawaii Route 311


Hawaii Route 311 is a 6.4-mile State Highway located on the Island of Maui.  Hawaii Route 311 connects the communities of Kahului and Kihei via a four-lane expressway grade.  Hawaii Route 311 traditionally was known as Mokulele Highway and now designated as Maui Veterans Highway.


Part 1; the history of Hawaii Route 311

The Island of Maui seemingly was not part of the original World War II era Hawaii Route System.  Circa 1955 the United States Bureau of Public Roads renumbered the Hawaii Route System.  The 1955 Hawaii Route Renumbering saw most of the conventions utilized by the current Hawaii State Route System established.  Primary Hawaii Routes were given two-digit numbers whereas Secondary Hawaii Routes were given three-digit numbers.  The Hawaii Routes were assigned in sequence for what Island/County they were located on coupled with what Federal Aid Program number they were tied to.  In the case of the Island of Maui it was assigned numbers in the range of 30-40.  

Hawaii Route 35 was originally designated as having a northern terminus in Kahului at Hawaii Route 32/Kaahumanu Avenue.  From Kahului, Hawaii Route 35 followed Puunene Avenue south to the Alexander & Baldwin company town of Puunene.  From Puunene, Hawaii Route 35 followed Mokulele Highway south to Kihei and Hawaii Route 31 at Kihei Road.  Hawaii Route 35 as originally configured can be seen on the 1959 Gousha Map of Hawaii.  Hawaii Route 35 is noted to be a secondary highway.  

During the 1960s the Hawaii Route System was simplified, and numerous important roads added to the State's inventory.  According to hawaiihighways.com the entirety of Hawaii Route 35 was originally maintained by Maui County.  During the 1960s all of what was Hawaii Route 35 was added to the State's inventory and reassigned as Hawaii Route 350.  At some point (the timeframe is unclear) Hawaii 350 seems to have been truncated to existing only on Puunene Avenue.  From Puunene Avenue the entirety of Mokelule Highway was transferred to a newly designated Hawaii Route 311.  

During May 2008 an expansion of Mokulele to a divided four-lane highway was completed between Hawaii Route 31/Piilani Highway and Hawaii Route 380/Kuihelani Highway.  The expansion of Hawaii Route 311 extended north of Puunene via a bypass.  The segment of Hawaii Route 350 in Puunene was partially abandoned and the highway was truncated to Hawaii Routes 311 and 380 at Kuihelani Highway.  It isn't clear but appears this is when Hawaii Route 350 was truncated it was also redesignated as Hawaii Route 3500.  During April 2017 Hawaii Route 311 was designated as Maui Veterans Highway by Governor David Ige.


Part 2; a drive on Hawaii Route 311

Hawaii Route 311 northbound begins at the north terminus of Hawaii Route 31/Piilani Highway at the outskirts of Kihei.  From the northbound start of Hawaii Route 311 a guide sign denotes Kahului as being 7 miles away.  




Hawaii Route 311 northbound follows Maui Veterans Highway north towards Kahului.  Hawaii Route 311 traffic can access Puunene from Hansen Road.  









Hawaii Route 311 northbound terminates at the junction of Hawaii Routes 380, 3800 and 3500 in Kahului.  





 Part 3; former Hawaii Route 311 on Old Mokulele Highway in Puunene

Former Hawaii Route 35/350 on Old Puunene Avenue and former Hawaii Route 311 on Old Mokulele Highway can still be accessed.  North of Hansen Road the former alignment of Hawaii Route 35/350 on Old Puunene Avenue is abandoned.  

Below the soft transition from former Hawaii Route 350 south on Old Puunene Avenue to former Hawaii Route 311 on Old Mokulele Highway can be seen.  The junction is still easily identifiable due to the weathered Hawaii Route 311 shield still directing traffic onto Old Mokulele Highway.  


Below is a series of photos of the company town site of Puunene from Old Puunene Avenue.  Puunene was plotted around the Hawaii Commerical & Sugar Company Mill (a division of Alexander & Baldwin) which was completed during 1901.  The Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company Mill closed during 2016 which ended production of sugar cane on the Hawaiian Islands.  









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