State receives $337 million for bridge improvements

  • Guthrie Scrimgeour / The Garden Island

    A one-lane bridge on Kipu Road over Hule‘ia Stream is among those considered to be in poor condition by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

LIHU‘E — The Biden-Harris administration announced the appropriation of $26.5 billion for bridge repair and rehabilitation, including $339 million for Hawai’i.

The state will have access to $67.8 million in 2022, with the remainder of the funds to be spread over the next five years.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration’s Infobridge tool, there are 84 bridges and over 664 miles of highway in poor condition in Hawai‘i total, including 12 bridges on Kaua‘i.

State Rep. James “Jimmy” Tokioka, who represents Lihu‘e and portions of Wailua and the South Shore, cited rehabilitating the 75-year old Kuhio Highway bridge over the Wailua River as a top priority for him.

“Because of the storms, a lot of debris came down that cracked the infrastructure of that bridge,” Tokioka said. “(It) needs to be fixed from the bottom up. That alone is probably going to cost $10 million.”

The Wailua River bridge, the most-used bridge on the island, carries 31,600 vehicles daily, while the 82-year old Kaumuali‘i Highway bridge over the Hanapepe River carries 18,600 vehicles daily.

The funding comes through the Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, Preservation, Protection, and Construction Program, and was made possible by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — commonly referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill — signed into law by Biden on Nov. 15 of last year.

California received the most funding, with $4.25 billion allocated, followed by New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

“This historic investment will help rebuild bridges across Hawai‘i, making them safer and more resilient for everyone,” said Hawai‘i U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing. “The bipartisan infrastructure law is already helping our state, and I’m proud to have supported it.”

All told, the Bridge Formula Program is expected to help repair approximately 15,000 highway bridges along with “off-system” bridges, which are generally locally owned facilities not on the federal-aid highway system.

Additionally, the FHWA will soon publish guidance on the new program that will make it easier to fix county-owned bridges, not just those on federal-aid highways, which will assist Kaua‘i in ensuring that smaller bridges are also eligible for funding.

While states normally must match federal funding with up to 20% state or local funding, the guidance issued Friday notes that federal funds can be used for 100% of the cost of repairing or rehabilitating locally owned off-system bridges.

“Notably, the federal government will make it easier for counties to access funding to help repair bridges, which is so important for smaller bridges in neighborhoods throughout the state,” said Hawai‘i Democratic Party Chair Tyler Dos Santos-Tam.

The state will also receive approximately $27 million over five years in formula funding to reduce transportation-related emissions, in addition to about $31 million over five years to increase the resilience of its transportation system.


Guthrie Scrimgeour, reporter, can be reached at 647-0329 or

  1. heavy trucks on small bridges January 20, 2022 5:44 am Reply

    what a beautful day.. use thw moneys where its really needed, teachers, lifeguards,kupuna, mwntal health, deug addiction, aloha..

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