Kalanianaole Avenue improvements continue

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald file photo Construction on Kalanianaole Avenue is projected to be complete by October 2020.

Roadwork on Kalanianaole Avenue continues — with a slightly higher price tag.

A joint state Department of Transportation and county project, the improvements are being made to enhance roadway capacity and operations as well as safety for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, county Public Works spokeswoman Denise Laitinen said.

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According to Laitinen, work will widen Kalanianole Avenue from Kanoelehua Avenue to Kuhio Street to allow for a concrete sidewalk on the makai side, a paved shoulder on the mauka side, bicycle lanes in each direction, one through lane in each direction, a shared turn lane and installation of a 12-inch diameter waterline.

“The original project budget was $17,080,009.16 with the County’s costs totaling $12,003,291.76 and the State’s costs totaling $5,076,717.40,” Laitinen said. “A change order was added for the waterline that is running from Verna’s (Drive Inn) to the Harbor. So overall the project has increased to $18,377,766.76.”

The county’s cost remains the same, she said.

Roadwork began in March 2018 with a target completion date of October 2020, weather permitting.

“The project has been progressing as planned,” Laitinen said. “Aside from weather delays, the only issue has been when work has been impeded due to conflicts with underground utilities. There are several utility lines in the area (gas, water, electric, etc.) and the moving of these lines and the permits required for such work are beyond DPW’s control.”

But the continued roadwork is affecting some businesses in the area.

Robin Hoopii, general manager of Coconut Grill, located at Hilo Seaside Hotel on the corner of Kalanianaole Avenue and Banyan Way, said the road work has had an impact on the restaurant’s business.

Sales have dropped, she said, “even to the point (of) sending employees home early because there’s no business.”

“We still have hotel guests that come in from that side,” Hoopii said. “The impact is more in local people (are) going to stay away because of the traffic.”

If people are going to come to lunch but only have a half-hour, “they’re going to be stuck in traffic alone for half an hour,” she said.

Parking is also an issue, with the parking lot down to about three spots, compared to 15, she said. Employees also have to park a distance away.

“Because of construction, people don’t want to park far and walk to eat.”

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“While DPW has not received any written complaints regarding the roadway improvements being made to Kalanianaole Avenue, we understand and appreciate that this work has impacted the community,” Laitinen said. “The County of Hawaii Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.”

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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