East Hawaii News

Governor Releases $36M For Big Isle Infrastructure

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Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced that he has released nearly $93 million for improvements to the state’s transportation infrastructure approved by the state Legislature. The funding includes more than $36 million for projects on the Big Island.

The 16 projects in Hawai`i County include an additional $20 million in federal contributions.

The biggest-ticket item is nearly $4 million in state monies and $14.5 million in federal funding for Highway 130, also known as the Kea`au-Pahoa Road.

The funding is for additional design and construction funds to convert the Hilo-bound shoulder lane to a travel lane. The new lane will include a shoulder for use by pedestrians and bicyclists. Some drainage work will also be done to minimize flooding.


The lane beginning at Shower Drive was created in 1996. It currently lacks a shoulder and is open only from 6 to 8 a.m. on work days to reduce congestion during that peak traffic period.

According to Keith DeMello of the governor’s office, the design work is expected to be completed by November. Construction on the project is expected to begin in April 2013 and be completed by July 2014.

Other funding released by the governor includes:



  • $215,000 in state funds and $860,000 federal funds for guardrail and shoulder improvements along a 1.6-mile stretch of road from Papalele Road to Kaumoali Bridge near Kalopa.
  • $162,000 to mitigate shoreline erosion along the Hilo Bayfront Highway, and another $107,000 to design a replacement for replacement of traffic signal systems on the roadway.
  • $180,000 in state funds and $720,000 in federal funds for further planning of the widening of Kuakini Highway in Kailua-Kona from two to four lanes.
  • $159,000 in state funds and $636,000 from the federal government for design of a new Pahoehoe Stream Bridge in North Hilo.
  • $600,000 to design drainage improvements on Mamalahoa Highway and $350,000 to prevent flooding from the Hawai`i Belt Road onto neighboring properties.


  • $14 million for construction of a new cargo facility at Hilo International Airport.
  • $3 million to design improvements at the terminal building at Kona International Airport and $2,329,185 toward construction of a new and relocated Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting Station to meet FAA requirements.
  • $600,000 to design for roof design on the terminal buildings, installation of air conditioning in bathrooms and other improvements at Kona’s airport.


  • $8.5 million to pave three acres for additional cargo space and to add lighting, drainage and other improvements at Kawaihae Harbor’s Pier 2 Terminal.
  • $2 million for dredging at Hilo’s harbor.

The released funds also include $874,925 state funds and a $2,624,774 federal grant for design and construction of surveillance systems at the Hilo, Kawaihae, Nawiliwili, and Port Allen Harbors.


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