Maui Electric Company will be upgrading utility poles and installing insulated power lines along Lahainaluna Road in West Maui from Thursday, Jan. 2 to Monday, Feb. 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The work is part of continued efforts to make the island’s electrical grid more resilient while also enabling more private residential rooftop solar to be installed on the island.
During the scheduled work times, for safety reasons due to the work involved and the width of the road, parts of the uphill (mauka) lane of Lahainaluna Road, between Mill Street and Kalena Street, will be closed to traffic. Traffic control will enable vehicles to pass through using the downhill lane of Lahainaluna Road.
Safety signs and traffic cones will alert drivers ahead of the work zone. Motorists are advised to drive with caution when approaching and passing the area. It’s also advised that motorists avoid parking their vehicles along Lahainaluna Road during this time.
For workers to safely complete the installation, planned outages are being scheduled and will be communicated to affected customers.
As part of the construction project, crews will replace power lines stretching across 15 spans and upgrade 14 poles with ones rated for higher wind gusts. The new power lines also provide additional capacity for more residents to install private rooftop solar systems on their homes.
Known as the Hendrix Aerial Cable System, the cables consist of three coated conductors supported by a heavy-gauge wire that provides structural support. The cables are cinched into polyethylene spacers placed every 30 feet along the spans to prevent the cables from touching and are designed to withstand high winds or the force of falling branches from large trees along Lahainaluna Road. The system does not require cross arms or a neutral wire on the poles, reducing visual impact. The system is also considered for areas where undergrounding electrical equipment isn’t practical.
Currently, the Hendrix cable system has also been installed in an area of Olinda. The system is also being planned for East Moloka‘i and evaluated for use on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island.