Time for repairs

LIHUE — By year’s end, the county is slated to begin work on approximately $22 million worth of capital improvement projects around the island.

In an announcement Monday, the county said the 16 total projects range from bridge repairs and park improvements to road construction. One in particular — $3 million for construction work on Puhi Road — cannot come soon enough, according to local residents and business owners.

“Puhi Road is real messed up, with potholes and patches,” said Jack Leonard, who owns Kauai Gymnastics Academy on Puhi Road with his wife Kay.

Leonard said he has watched the decay continue for nine years and that the road breaks up just as fast as crews can patch the holes. He compared it to painting a large bridge — by the time it’s done, it’s time to start over again.

“If you work here, you tolerate it,” he said of the poor condition of the road. “When you don’t work here, it probably shies people away.”

The project involves repaving a 0.5-mile stretch of Puhi Road from Kaumualii Highway to Hanalima Street, according to the county. It will include $600,000 in county funding and $2.4 million in federal funding. 

County Engineer Larry Dill said officials are still planning a long-term resurfacing project for the remaining stretch of Puhi Road to Halemalu Road, which also qualifies for federal funding. 

“It’s one of the roads that we get the most phone calls about than probably any other road on the island,” Dill said at a recent Kauai Board of Relators membership meeting. 

CIP program manager Keith Suga said several upcoming projects will be put out to bid during the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2015, which began July 1.

“The list totals roughly $22 million in county and federal highway construction dollars, and county funding is about 38 percent of our entire capital improvements budget for fiscal 2015,” he said in a statement. 

Among the CIP projects to be put out to bid are the Puhi Road construction, bleacher replacement at the Hanapepe Stadium Grandstand ($824,000), ‘Aliomanu Road repairs ($2.9 million) and Kapahi Bridge repairs ($2 million).

An additional $1.1 million will be spent on lighting retrofits at Anahola Village Park, Kapaa New Town Park, Wailua Homestead and Houselots Park tennis courts, Kalawai Park and Hanapepe Tennis Court, according to the county.

More than $800,000 will be spent replacing bleachers at the Hanapepe Stadium Grandstand, $1.87 million on improvements to the Lihue Stadium baseball field, and $1.16 on ADA access barrier removal at Kekaha Faye and Waimea Canyon parks. 

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said the county’s CIP program has made incredible strides in recent years. In the past three years alone, the county has spent roughly $40 million in capital projects.

“Since creating the CIP Program Manager position, the coordination among purchasing and the various departments has improved tremendously,” Carvalho said in a statement.

Based on how the procurement proceeds for each of the CIP projects, they are likely to be underway before the end of December, according to Suga. 

“Some will move more quickly than others,” said Suga. “But our goal is to get them all underway within six months.”

• Chris D’Angelo, environment writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or cdangelo@thegardenisland.com.

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