Saturday | September 23, 2017
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Money for Hokulia bypass coming soon

Hawaii County is a month — or less — from full payment for the Mamalahoa bypass, a county official said.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert J. Farias on Monday approved 1250 Oceanside’s bankruptcy plan, Deputy Corporation Counsel Joseph Kamelamela said Tuesday. The plan calls for full payment of the $20 million Oceanside still owes Hawaii County to build the long-awaited bypass.

“I’m confident the county will get paid, plus interest,” Kamelamela said. “I knew when we first went into this” that the county would eventually be paid.

He based that confidence on an assessment of the land the county would acquire if Oceanside and its new owners did not come up with $20 million in cash. The 80 lots at the Kona development used to secure the $20 million are good ones, he said.

“They’re beautiful lots,” he said. “So two years ago, I was pretty sure we would get paid.”

The reorganization plan calls for Oceanside to make full payment within two days of the plan’s effective date. That’s a bit of a moving target, Kamelamela said, but should come in the next 20 to 30 days.

The plan did not contain any surprises, he added.

Hawaii County officials have been pursuing a bypass road in the area since the Hokulia development was first proposed in the late 1990s. The road is to run from the end of Alii Drive in Keauhou to Napoopoo Road, where it intersects with Mamalahoa Highway in South Kona.

A number of challenges, including lawsuits and Oceanside’s bankruptcy, have slowed construction. The county acquired the first portion of the road, from Alii Drive to Halekii Street in Kealakekua, several years ago and opened it to the public, first on a limited basis, then around the clock with no restrictions.

The Department of Public Works is still working its way through the bid from Isemoto Contracting Co., Director Warren Lee said Tuesday. Isemoto submitted what appears to be the low bid for the remainder of the road construction project. They estimated $13.5 million for an asphalt road or $14.8 million for a Portland cement concrete surface and $13.1 million for the work at the Napoopoo Road intersection.

While road work hasn’t yet started, his department has been very busy evaluating the bid, Lee said.

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