Gateway project may begin next month

LIHU’E — Work on the long-awaited Lihu’e Gateway Beautification Project could

begin next month if the state Department of Transportation issues a notice to

Kaua’i Nursery & Landscaping Inc. to begin work on the $5 million

landscaping project to beautify roads leading to the Lihu’e Airport.

The

project calls for thousands of plants, trees, flowers and grass to be planted

along Ahukini Road and Kapule Highway.

The project has been in the planning

stages for five years and is expected to be completed in about 300 working days

unless bad weather causes delays.

It will be developed with $4 million in

federal funds and $1 million in in-kind community funds.

Under a DOT

contract awarded in January, Kaua’i Nursery will plant coconut palms, Formosa

koa trees, Manila palms, Hong Kong orchids, Queen Emma spider lily shrubs,

princess shrubs, Ti bushes, ground cover and others plants and flowers.

An

irrigation system will be installed.

The Urban Youth Corps Program, a

federally-funded program to help economically disadvantaged youths, will

provide workers for the project.

The DOT has a contract with the University

of Hawai’i to provide Kauai Nursery with workers for the project, which will

provide on-the-job training for youths and young adults ranging between 19 and

25 years of age.

Through the county’s Ho’olokahi Program, volunteer groups

also are expected to help support the project. At one point, 160 groups had

offered to provide volunteer help.

Different organizations will sign up to

take care of the lots, said Rudy Raralio, an area engineer with the DOT

Highways Division office on Kaua’i.

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