Bid protest filed over airport project

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KAILUA-KONA — The winning bid for the single most expensive part of the ongoing $170 million Kona International Airport upgrade is now under protest.

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KAILUA-KONA — The winning bid for the single most expensive part of the ongoing $170 million Kona International Airport upgrade is now under protest.

The first phase of the terminal modernization project will involve centralizing the check-in area and consolidating the inspection areas. “This will increase efficiency and will help streamline the check-in process. It will also add additional retail concession space and restrooms,” said Tim Sakahara, a spokesman with the state Department of Transportation.

The winner, Honolulu-based NAN Inc., bid at $69,014,200 in June, according to documents. California-based Hensel Phelps was the next closest bidder at $69,406,000, missing by just 0.5 percent.

A protest was filed and is now under review, Sakahara confirmed Wednesday. By law, a hold is put on a project while the protest moves through a legal process.

The other two bidders, Bodell Construction and Okland Construction Company, bid about $71.5 million.

The department’s Airports Division estimated the project would cost under $60 million.

Kona International Airport now handles about 9 percent of air traffic in Hawaii, with direct flights from the mainland and Canada, according to the department. International flights from Japan will commence in December.

However, Kona International Airport was originally designed primarily for smaller operations.

“Therefore, major improvements are needed to accommodate the current and future mix of domestic, overseas, international, inter-island, commuter and general aviation activities,” the website reads.

So far, the state says it has completed a number of projects to modernize the open-air airport on the Big Island’s west side.

Sakahara said terminal building roofing has been replaced, the south terminal baggage claim carousel was replaced and upgraded, and the public address and flight information systems has been improved. Security upgrades include a new perimeter fence and maintenance roadway, along with security lighting in the general aviation area and portable AC units and fans at security checkpoints.

The main parking area was also repaired and repaved.

There are four other projects that still need to be finished. The two trailers at the commuter terminal will be replaced in the coming months, Sakahara said. In that same time frame, the state also intends to begin work on drainage improvements between the hold room and air field, as well as replace tile and make improvements within the hold room.

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Still in the design phase is the Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting regional training facility.

Repeated requests for comment from Nan Inc. and Hensel Phillips over several days were not successful as of press time Wednesday.

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