BY RON ELAND
North Hawaii News
Motorists in Waimea may want to allow a little extra time while driving through town beginning next month.
During last week’s Waimea Community Association meeting, Public Works Director Warren Lee discussed work to be done to Lindsey Bridge which is near the intersection of Lindsey/ Kawaihae Road and Mamalahoa Highway.
Lee said during research on the bridge it was found that it had not been rated based on the amount of weight it can handle. As a result, two temporary columns were put in as support.
“If that bridge is damaged you’d have to go through Waikoloa in order to get to Kawaihae,” Lee said, noting that a new bridge would cost $7-10 million. “The original plan was the replace the bridge but that would not only be a very costly project, it would cause major traffic congestion.”
He said when the bridge was originally constructed it was only 14 feet wide. It was then widened in 1969 to 23 feet and is now 60 feet wide.
An engineering forensic analysis was conducted to test the rebar in the bridge. Lee said some rebar was so old that it was square — unlike the traditional round type which has been used for decades. The analysis found weak spots with original 14-foot-wide bridge. As a result, four additional concrete beams will be placed under the bridge, which was built more than 70 years ago.
“Work is expected to start in late August and will take about a month to complete,” Lee said.
Global Specialty Contractors, Inc. was awarded the contract at a cost of $465,000. The Federal Highway Administration will cover 80 percent of the cost with the county paying the remaining 20 percent.
During that time, the bridge will be one-way during the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A member of the audience asked that since school will be back in session then — and thus more traffic on the road — would it be possible for the work to be done at night. Lee said it wasn’t an option due to safety issues (lack of appropriate lighting) and the fact that it’s not good to pour concrete at night.
Under a separate, contract, Goodfellow Bros Inc. is reconstructing curb ramps along Mamalahoa Highway near the Lindsey Road intersection. Both contractors will coordinate their respective work to avoid inconveniencing motorists as much as possible. The replacement of 15 curb ramps will now comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided funds for the $696,000 project.