Fund shortage brings bypass work to a screeching halt

Residents who had expected work to start soon on the extension of the temporary Kapa’a bypass road to bring traffic relief in and around Kapa’a and Waipouli will have to wait.

Work on the project won’t start until construction and fiscal folks with the state Department of Transportation High-ways Division in Honolulu find funds to extend the road, which measures nearly a mile, according to Steve Kyono, who heads the state DOT High-way Division office on Kaua’i.

Another DOT official said the amount needed comes to $500,000.

DOT leaders had originally estimated and budgeted $3.2 million to build a roundabout at the intersection of ‘Olohena Road and the bypass road, and to extend the bypass road on an existing cane haul road on land mauka of the Kapa’a New Park to the northern end of Kapa’a town.

Koga Engineering officials came in with the lowest bid, at $3.7 million, and won the contract to do the work, a DOT official said.

Company leaders took on the job knowing that not all the funds would be available to complete the project all at once, Kyono said.

“Koga Engineering started this (the project) with full knowledge the DOT didn’t have the authorized amount, and that DOT would ask for additional funds,” Kyono said.

“There is still money in the contract, and Koga is contracted to us to do the work.”

When work on the extension of the bypass road will start is not known, but it will be done, Kyono said.

Because of concerns about traffic congestion developing at the intersection of Kawaihau Road and Kuhio Highway, DOT leaders decided to make the extension a one-way, southbound-only route, bringing traffic through the round-about and towards Waipouli and Lihu’e.

The roundabout replaced a two-way intersection at ‘Olo-hena Road and Malu Road, and has been credited with facilitating smooth traffic on the mauka side of Kapa’a town.

Work on the roundabout started earlier his year, and was completed in recent months.

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