Friday | November 24, 2017
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Three oft-used Big Island bridges slated for replacement

State transportation officials are looking to replace three Big Island bridges.

The bridges cross small streams but each is on major traffic routes.

The spans are Waiaka Stream bridge near the intersection of Kawaihae Road and Kohala Mountain Road in Waimea, Pahoehoe Stream bridge at the 5.8 mile marker on Highway 19 just north of Hilo, and Ninole bridge on Highway 11 near Punaluu Beach Park.

They were each identified in the budget lawmakers passed in April.

The budget provides funds for design and land acquisition associated with the projects, but much of the plans remain in the conceptual phase, according to the state Department of Transportation.

DOT public affairs staff say the projects are too preliminary to offer timelines and, in most cases, cost estimates. At least two of them — the Waiaka bridge and Ninole bridge replacement projects — will be part of an upcoming agreement with the federal Highway Administration.

Caroline Sluyter, department spokeswoman, said the agreement is expected to be finalized mid-June. She estimated 11 projects statewide will be a part of the agreement, to be signed with FHA’s Central Federal Lands division.

“We worked with them on Saddle Road,” she said. “That worked out really well.”

The agreement will sort out project management and cost-sharing responsibilities.

Central Federal Lands, located in Colorado, couldn’t be reached for comment.

A 2012 environmental assessment estimated the Waiaka Stream bridge replacement project to cost between $8 million and $14 million.

The 38-foot-long bridge was built in 1932.

A temporary bridge would be built to provide an alternate route during construction.

A proposed bridge cross section in the environmental assessment included 5-foot sidewalks and 8-foot bike routes/shoulders.

The document proposes a traffic light or roundabout at the intersection of Kawaihae and Kohala Mountain roads.

Drivers can expect detours for the other projects, too, Sluyter said.

For the Waiaka Stream bridge, the budget provides $2 million for design and land acquisition. The budget provides $500,000 for land acquisition for the Pahoehoe Stream bridge, built in 1912, and $1.3 million for design and land acquisition for the Ninole bridge, built in 1940.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis


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