Historic Pepeekeo bridge slated for repairs

  • MICHAEL BRESTOVANSKY/Tribune-Herald The Waima‘au‘au Stream Bridge in Pepeekeo.

A bill that would allocate more than $1 million to repair a historic bridge in Pepeekeo passed its first reading Wednesday before the Hawaii County Council.

The tiny Waima‘au‘au Stream Bridge, a less-than-20-foot-long bridge on Old Mamalahoa Highway, is the subject of Bill 95, which adds to the capital budget a $1.3 million project to restore the bridge.

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The one-lane bridge is listed as part of the Mamalahoa Historic District and was found in 2018 to be in need of restoration, said Cres Rambayon, project coordinator with the county Department of Public Works.

In particular, Rambayon said, the bridge’s concrete deck and reinforcing steel deteriorated significantly and need to be replaced.

“Some other components have been replaced a couple of times before,” Rambayon said about the bridge, which was built in 1930.

As part of the historical preservation process, the design of the restored bridge will remain as close to the original as possible, although Rambayon said more modern materials might be used for the repairs.

However, restoration work on the bridge will not begin anytime soon, Rambayon said. The design for the repair work has not yet been finalized, which means the competitive bidding process — itself a time-consuming procedure — cannot begin.

Whenever construction does begin, Rambayon said Public Works will ensure residents will have detours available to circumvent the stream.

The council unanimously voted in favor of the bill, and it moved to second reading.

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The council also passed on second reading a bill that allocates $1 million to a $4 million project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct repairs to the Waiakea Stream flood channel in Hilo after it was damaged by Hurricane Lane last year.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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