Hawai`i Roads - HI 19

HI 19

EB at HI 250, voted one of the most scenic highways in the world, running through the Kohala Mountains to Hawi. The Kohala range is one of five volcanoes that merged into the Big Island, three of which are still active. In addition to the too-small font, this sign is notable for using the local and historic name of Waimea for what has been renamed Kamuela to remove confusion with Waimea on Kauai; other Waimeas were also renamed, but this one has remained in common parlance.

Reconstruction progresses on an old bridge across one of many North Shore streams east of Honoka`a. I don't know if this is about to be replaced or refurbished in place.

Same bridge, opposite direction.

About three miles further southeast, this time the new bridge is being constructed on a straighter alignment, so traffic continues (EB) on the old one.

WB views of the reinforcing steel and remaining center gap of the new bridge, merging back into HI 19 WB in the last photo.

One more old bridge. Most state highway bridges have the name of the undercrossing creek stamped into the side as the name of the bridge.

In every gap of the mountain, there's a creek. The scenery on HI 19 northwest of Hilo is reminscent of the Road to Hana on Maui. These photos were taken WB, with the last photo looking north at the Pacific Ocean.

In fact, there's a specially designated Scenic Route over the old Mamalahoa Highway (would have been HI 19 if Hawai`i had been a state that long ago) through Pepe`ekeo, and it includes the mouth of an undeground river by a wooden bridge. Because of the way the islands were formed, Hawai`i has plenty of lava tube rivers, with the water naturally coming down the way the lava went up.

From a scenic overlook, Laupahoehoe Point, a fishing village that became one of the principal ports of Hawai`i due to its deep seas. It had about 2,000 residents in the 1920's, making it quite a bit larger than most villages, but the upland Laupahoehoe started to thrive instead of the Point area thanks to the Hawaiian train (yes, Hawai`i had many rail lines, and a couple are still preserved at least as trails). The tsunami of 1946 devastated both Hilo and Laupahoehoe Point, but while the decision was made to rebuild Hilo and maintain its importance, the time for the Point was over and it is now a lightly populated resort area, as you see here.

Past another scenic valley that someone luckily calls home, across an old bridge that has been spared the affliction of replacement, and into the city of Hilo. This is veritable rainforest land, on the outskirts of the Big Island's capital and largest city.

Keawe St. NB turning into Pu'ueo St. in Hilo, and then the view from HI 19 looking westward. This arch bridge was the original HI 19.

Old HI 19 EB, Kamehameha Ave. at Mamo St. The markings do get you to slow down, if only out of terror that you're definitely going to hit all of the cars on both sides of you while trying to follow the lines.

HI 19 WB where Bayfront Highway splits, or should I say used to split, from Kamehameha Ave. About half a mile of old HI 19 along the bayfront was converted into parking lots, probably to slow traffic down and make the intersection of old and new 19 (now at Pauahi St.) safer. The last photo bends back eastward to see that end of the old highway. Of interest is that there's a stub related to Bayfront Highway on the east shore of the Wailoa River (draining the Waiakea Fishpond). As you see in the second photo, Bayfront Highway started off as two lanes before widening into four (the third photo has the WB lanes up and behind the EB lanes that you can see). Whether as part of Bayfront Highway or more recently as Kamehameha Ave., there's a wide square of pavement that could either accommodate four divided lanes (i.e. two on each side of a median) or six total lanes with a center turn lane.

More Big Island roads
Off HI 19 to the Malama Petroglyphs (on the West Shore)
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