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Posted: Thursday, March 28th, 2013 9:27 AM HST

Portion of Lahaina bypass highway opens

By Associated Press

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) A portion of the long-awaited Lahaina bypass highway has opened to traffic.

The Maui News says the project has been in the making for more than three decades.

The first part of the 9-mile highway opened Wednesday.

That stretch, nearly a mile long, runs between Lahainaluna Road and the Keawe Street extension.

The bypass project is aimed at helping drivers avoid the congestion on Honoapiilani Highway in the Lahaina town area.

State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter says a key piece of the first phase was the construction of the 360-foot-long Kahoma Stream Bridge, which cost more $24 million to build. The bridge spans the Kahoma Stream gulch.

The first phase has a $77 million price tag, with most of it funded by the federal government.

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