The state Department of Transportation broke ground Thursday for a more than $7 million project that will increase cargo space at Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor, as well as improve operational safety and efficiency for users.
Approximately 3.1 acres will be paved at Pier 2, now dedicated to cargo barges and shared by two users. Associated infrastructure improvements, such as the installment of LED lighting, fire protection and drainage, will also occur, said Carter Luke, DOT Harbors Division engineering program manager.
The two existing buildings, the DOT Harbors Division office and the comfort station, will be demolished. A temporary office trailer will be constructed in a nonsecured area between the Young Brothers and Matson yards, Luke said.
Ports are the lifeline in the Hawaiian Islands, bringing in the vast majority of the goods needed by businesses, residents and visitors. Approximately 80 percent of all goods are imported into the state, and of that, 98 percent are shipped in through ports. Hawaii Island has seen steady growth in cargo for the past 30 years, and projects like this one will help meet the current and anticipated demand for cargo moving in and out of the island’s harbors’ terminals, Luke said.
The improvements are part of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s New Day Work Projects, aimed at creating jobs and stimulating the economy. When Abercrombie was elected, he promised to not be Oahu-centric and help rebuild the state’s economy by putting people back to work. This project honors that commitment, said Marvin Wong, special assistant to the governor.
Isemoto Contracting Co. will do the construction work, which is expected to be completed in 12 to 18 months.