Gov. Neil Abercrombie has released nearly $41 million for various capital improvement projects across Hawaii Island.
The $40,995,185 came as part of a $92.8 million the governor released statewide. On top of that, the Big Island projects also included $16.8 million in federal funding.
State legislators had already approved funding for the projects, but the governor must release the funds before work can begin.
“Our highways, airports and harbors are essential to island commerce and our way of life; everyone depends on the daily reliability and functionality of this core infrastructure,” Abercrombie said in a statement. “By investing in these needed maintenance and improvement projects now, we will create local jobs and further stimulate the economy, while ensuring the continued flow of ground, air and ship transportation to, from and throughout the state.”
Some of the major Big Island projects receiving funds have been in the works for years:
— The long-awaited shoulder lane conversion from Keaau Bypass Road to Highway 130’s Shower Drive intersection is getting $3.9 million in state funds and $14.6 million in federal funds. Money will be used to convert the Hilo-bound shoulder lane of the highway to a travel lane and to construct a shoulder lane for use by pedestrians and bicycles.
— A much-needed cargo facility building at Hilo International Airport is getting $14 million for additional construction.
— Kawaihae Harbor’s Pier 2 receives $8.5 million for the paving of 3.1 acres of land to provide additional cargo space and other improvements.
— Hilo Harbor will have $2 million for dredging improvements.
— Kona International Airport will get $4.9 million for the relocation of the Ellison S. Onizuka Space Center, $3 million for upgrades to the passenger terminal and baggage handling system, $2.3 million for a new and improved crash crew fire station to meet federal requirements, and $600,000 in design funds to re-roof the terminal buildings, air condition the restrooms, and other improvements.
Other smaller projects include: $600,000 for drainage improvements along Mamalahoa Highway; $350,000 for drainage improvements on Hawaii Belt Road, $1.1 million in state and federal funds to widen Kuakini Highway in Kona from two to four lanes; $795,000 in state and federal funds for the design of a new Pahoehoe Stream bridge on Hawaii Belt Road; $162,000 to stop erosion along Hilo’s Bayfront Highway; and other improvements to Hilo Harbor.