HANAPEPE — After a month of pouring new concrete on the north side of the new Kaumuali‘i Highway bridge over the Hanapepe River, Kalaheo resident Robert Brodowy spotted some highway workers jackhammering out yards of the new pour.
Brodowy was on his way to the gym in Hanapepe early last week when he saw the construction workers chipping the concrete away. He’s been watching the bridge-replacement project’s progress — with work ongoing in the area since 2017 — and was frustrated to see what appeared to be demolition work happening in an area he thought was already completed.
“I thought we (were) getting close to the end,” Brodowy said. “Then you go by there and see them jackhammer (out) everything they (already) did. My first reaction is (that) it’s gonna be longer to have that bridge fixed. We’re going to pay for this screw-up.”
The project is already behind initial predictions for completion, originally June 2020. Shelly Kunishige, public information officer with the state Department of Transportation, said the DOT now expects “substantial completion” sometime in the first quarter of 2022, more than a year later than the announced target date.
The cement that was originally poured alongside the highway had to be removed because it didn’t meet contract requirements, according to Kunishige. The DOT did not supply requested information on the exact requirements that needed to be met, nor on what shortcomings the project included that failed to meet those requirements.
Kunishige said workers with W.W. Clyde, winning bidder for the contract awarded in 2018 for the permanent bridge construction, would be re-pouring 170 cubic yards of concrete, but did not give a time frame on when that re-pour would happen.
She said the re-pour shouldn’t add to the cost of the project, but did not go into detail on how the price of the project would be impacted.
The project intends to improve the safety and reliability of the highway over the river, through rehabilitation or replacement, addresses bridge width, load capacity, bridge railing and transitions, bridge approaches, and hopes to mitigate the effects of scour (erosion of soil surrounding bridge foundations).
The U.S. DOT and Federal Highway Administration were contacted for comment, but did not respond to questions before press time.
Stephanie Shinno, education, business, and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.