By TOM CALLIS
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A contractor is gearing up to begin widening a 2.5-mile stretch of Keaau-Pahoa Road.
The $15 million project between Shower Drive and Keaau Bypass Road will result in a new 12-foot lane and 8-foot shoulder in the Hilo-bound direction, providing for two lanes open at all times.
The Highway 130 project is intended to help alleviate congestion, and it will also provide an improved shoulder in the Pahoa-bound direction that will act as a 10-foot lane during afternoon peak hours.
The work is expected to take 20 months to complete, and some activity has already begun.
The project officially started this week with contractor Nan Inc. of Honolulu installing signs and putting in place erosion control devices, a state Department of Transportation spokeswoman said in an email.
Next week, road shoulders will be closed as the company locates water lines, but the Hilo-bound shoulder, used by drivers during peak hours, will not be closed at those times, the spokeswoman said.
Brush will be cleared from the edge of the roadway the week of Sept. 9.
When lane construction will begin wasn’t immediately clear.
But during construction, no lane closures are anticipated, the spokeswoman said.
Lanes will be shifted and narrowed as the work progresses.
Still, drivers will find themselves going slower. A 35-mph speed limit will be enforced during construction.
The project won’t be the only roadwork Puna drivers will have to contend with on the highway.
DOT is also planning to begin installing a roundabout at Highway 130 and Pahoa Village Road. That project is anticipated to start in January and take a year to complete.
The state agency is planning to widen the highway between the Keaau bypass and Pahoa-Kapoho Road, and the current project is considered phase one.
Email Tom Callis at email@example.com.