LIHUE — A $2.5 million project to provide a pedestrian and vehicle bridge over Keahua Stream at the end of Kuamo’o Road in Keahua Arboretum in the Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve is set to begin.
Donovan Riopta of Hanama‘ulu silently shook his head “no” when he discovered the heavy equipment and materials stockpiled in the parking areas, Friday while he worked the area for a senior photo shoot.
Deborah Ward of the Department of Land and Natural Resources said the Notice to Proceed was issued to the contractor on Sept. 6, triggering the staging of equipment for the bridge construction, the surveying of the area for the bridge footings, and the removal of several African Tulip trees along the stream bed.
New roadway alignment is planned, along with a vehicular bridge and an adjacent pedestrian path. Also planned is the removal of some trees, installation of bridge abutment footings and walls, and installation of a drainage culvert with inlet and outlet.
“No,” said Kathy Kikoshima of San Jose, California. “There must be a better way to use the money. We come to Kauai a lot, and this is one of the places we love to visit because of the natural bridge and the area around it.”
Kikoshima was visiting with her sister Gail Hahn and husband Brett Hahn, who recently participated in The Kauai half marathon with Kikoshima, enjoying the environment with William, a Kauai Humane Society Adopt-a-Dog.
“He loves it,” Kikoshima said. “Look at him frolicking in the water. He’s so happy.”
The Department of Land and Natural Resources Kauai Division of Forestry and Wildlife selected contractor Mocon Corporation for the work.
The contractor will excavate, grade and pave with asphalt the larger parking lot and intends to utilize the smaller parking lot for their operations.
“We are building a bridge for safe crossing in this highly-used area,” Ward said. “People will be able to access Keahua Arboretum when the stream is full.”
Work is expected to be complete in early 2017, barring any delays.
No long road closures are expected since at least one traffic lane will remain open, however there may be temporary closures.
Ward said people have driven by the area for quite a while — probably since it was built.
“How are we going to wash our feet?” Gail asked.