Ponding on Olohena Bridge triggers complaints

Wailua resident Glenn Mickens never liked the idea that the county spent $4.8 million — mostly federal dollars — to replace the old wooden-plank Olohena Bridge in Wailua with a brand new concrete bridge in 2005.

The council committee received a report from Deputy County Engineer Kylan Dela Cruz.

While council threw its support behind a concrete bridge that looked more substantial, Mickens maintained the county could have spent far less to put in a steel-constructed Acrow Bridge.

With as much money that was spent, the ponding problem should not have surfaced, Mickens insisted in written testimony he submitted at a meeting of the council’s Public Works Committee at the Historic County Building last Wednesday.

Mickens stated water and mud have collected on the bridge after every rain since the bridge was built.

Water and mud travel on an easement along Olohena Road and onto the bridge, he argued.

“Obviously, for the huge amounts of money we paid for that bridge, Unlimited Construction (Services) should have been made to fix any mud and water runoff that affected the bridge,” Mickens’ written testimony stated.

Whether UCS “was responsible for this ‘goof’ is not known, but someone should have addressed it up front,” he added.

At a past meeting, the council commended UCS for its work.

The council paid $500,000 to expedite the replacement of the old bridge.

Some Wailua residents, however, had complained the bridge replacement work created delays in travel times for commuters through the Kawaihau District.

While the work was going on, parts of Olohena Road leading to the bridge were closed and motorists had to take side roads, increasing travel time.

To ensure safer travel, county workers strengthened the shoulders of some roads or paved others.

Mayor Bryan Baptiste had ordered the closure of the weathered 30-plus-year-old bridge due to concerns about public safety.

• Lester Chang, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) or lchang@kauaipubco.com.

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