Live-fire training changes Kolekole Pass hours
July 20, 2009
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - A new live-fire training schedule nearing final approval will change Kolekole Pass hours of availability as early as the beginning of August.
The new schedule will allow personal vehicle accessibility to Kolekole Pass during peak travel times. Unit training at the site known as Qualification Training Range 2 (QTR2) made the new hours of operation necessary.
The recommended Kolekole access schedule of 5:30-8:30 a.m. and 3:30-5:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, will open the shortcut to those commuting to and from the garrison.
Currently, Kolekole Pass allows one-way traffic from 7 a.m.-5 p.m., daily. During morning hours, travel is allowed from Waianae to Schofield; at noon the traffic pattern reverses until the 5 p.m. closing. The one-way traffic pattern is the result of a December rock slide resulting from storm damage that reduced road usage on the Lualualei Naval Station portion of the road.
The South Range live-fire training considerations were essential to the QTR2 plan under final review.
"The qualification training range location is critical in meeting required training and firing qualifications," said Ken Torre, training support director.
Portions of Kolekole are located in a surface danger zone (SDZ) area, making the road dangerous to travel during periods of live-fire training.
Along with Soldier use, members of the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the Honolulu Police Department, all use the QTR2 training site for live-fire training.
Several courses of actions for training use of QTR2 were researched. Among the options examined were the closure of Kolekole during periods of scheduled training and the option to conduct ebb and flow traffic management when weapons are not being fired. The goal is the creation of a best option for both Soldier training and general public access.
Providing regularly scheduled hours of availability is an important consideration.
"Closing Kolekole Pass during peak hours would create a hardship on the people living on the Waianae Coast by extending their drive time and fuel consumption because of the additional travel time and distance," said Colonel Matthew Margotta, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii.
"It's our goal to balance this essential training mission for our Soldiers, but also recognize the commuting challenges of our leeward coast community members." Margotta continued. "We believe this is our best solution."
The regularly scheduled hours of access were approved for predictability and continuity in opening and closing the pass, as well as to more easily manage access with less impact on units for managing checkpoints and traffic.
Under the plan, Kolekole will remain closed on weekends allowing training and construction of additional live-fire facilities to continue.
More than 1,400 acres of land in the South Range area of Schofield Barracks has been obtained by the Army to add increased Soldier qualification training. Construction of additional live-fire training facilities is scheduled for completion in 2011.
"The new hours of (Kolekole) availability could take effect as early as the first week of August," said Torre.
Once formally approved by both garrison and Naval authorities, no less than 10 days notice is required before implementing.
The live-fire training at QTR2 not only impacts Kolekole traffic but will also affect flight patterns and air space for helicopters, stop physical fitness training and eliminate public trail access.