Kilauea Ave to get face-lift


Hawaii County opened contractor bidding for a project to improve a nearly 3-mile stretch of Kilauea Avenue in Hilo.

The project is described as rehabilitation for the heavily trafficked street, whose pavement surface is significantly degraded throughout the downtown area.


“My office gets a lot of calls about that road,” said County Council Chairman Aaron Chung of Hilo. “We get a lot of calls about roadways in general, actually.”

Pavement rehabilitation typically refers to strengthening and repairing existing pavement, not full reconstruction.

According to the project notice, the roadwork also will include the installation of new pavement striping and traffic detectors.

Chung said some parts of the road will get lane reconfigurations, with center turn lanes and other additions to be added to key areas of the road.

Denise Laitinen, spokeswoman for the county Department of Public Works, said via email the project — which covers Kilauea Avenue from Puainako Street to Wailoa Bridge, approximately 2.7 miles — is expected to begin in the latter half of 2020 and take about 300 working days to complete, weather permitting.

During construction, traffic will be limited to one travel lane in each direction, Laitinen said.

Laitinen said the project is expected to pull bids ranging between $4.5 million and $6.5 million, adding that 80% of the project costs are covered by federal funds, with the remainder paid for by the county.

Chung said he is “encouraged” that improvements to Kilauea Avenue are coming, and added that further repairs to some of Hilo’s more-trafficked roads will come soon as well.

In particular, Chung said he hopes the Department of Public Works will approve plans for improvements to Waianuenue Avenue by the end of the year, with bids tentatively opening in 2021.

“It all comes down to the resources, and the department’s ability to get them in place,” Chung said. “It’s going to happen eventually, it just depends on when we can afford it.”


Bidding for the Kilauea Avenue project will close July 9.

Email Michael Brestovansky at

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