ANINI — The bridge just before Anini Beach Park will be closed in September to install a new, temporary bridge above the existing structure.
The closures will only last for a few hours at a time, are scheduled to happen mostly at night, and should take about three days, said Michael Moule, with the county Department of Public Works Engineering Division.
The need to replace Anini Bridge No. 2 was identified during a recent inspection by Acting County Engineer Lyle Tabata, who discovered a crack in the center column on the mauka side of the bridge.
“That’s why we shifted the traffic to the makai side,” Moule said.
The county also slapped a three-ton weight limit on the bridge, which has become a barrier for some fishermen and their boats.
The limit is a result of negotiations with the state Department of Transpiration, which wanted to close the bridge until a temporary one is installed.
“We’re trying to avoid a complete closure of this bridge,” Moule said.
Some of the fishermen having problems with the limit gathered with homeowners and community members at Anini Beach Park on Thursday night to talk with the county about the bridge plans.
“This is really bad timing,” said Ben Butler, a fisherman who launches from the Anini Beach Park boat ramp. “We can’t get our boats in the water and it’s about to be prime fishing time.”
The three-ton limit will be void when the new temporary bridge is installed, which has a 17-ton limit, and is “more than enough for boat traffic,” according to Moule.
Until then, county officials asked the community to give them some ideas on how to help the fishermen.
One suggestion was to find a place on the Hanalei side of the bridge where fishermen can park their boats, and fishermen said the idea was viable if security came with the parking area.
“We hear you about security,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. “We’re going to go check on these things and then come back to you.”
Officials said bids for construction have been accepted and the county is closing in on selecting a contractor. Once the company is contracted, the county will hold another meeting to provide more details to the community.
Roy and Diane Garrison, who live near the bridge, were concerned about noise.
“If this is going on all night, how are we going to sleep?” Diane Garrison said.
The county plans to install the bridge in three sections. The maximum time the road will be closed has been outlined in two, 12-hour segments, and one, 24-hour segment.
The temporary bridge is 16 feet long, with a little more than 13 feet between the guardrails.
The dates of the closures are up in the air, but will happen in September. County officials said they would alert the public at least two weeks in advance.
“It’s going to be a relatively quick process because it’s all precast,” Moule said. “We’re trying to minimize any length of closure.”
October is the estimated date for completion of the new, temporary bridge, and a complete replacement of the bridge is planned within 10 years.
“Completely replacing the bridge is more expensive and requires permits and other approvals because we’ll be digging in the stream,” Moule said. “This is the fix we need right now, because we’re trying to prevent the bridge from collapsing.”