County seeks bids for Alii Drive culvert replacement project

  • The wall adjacent to the double-cell culvert bridging the Waiaha Drainageway on Alii Drive shows signs of erosion. Hawaii County earlier this month posted an invitation for bids for the project that would change out the more than 80-year-old culvert on the Waiaha Drainageway near Kona Tiki Hotel in Kailua-Kona. Bids are due Dec. 20. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — A contractor is being sought to replace a rapidly deteriorating culvert on Alii Drive.

Hawaii County earlier this month posted an invitation for bids for the project that would change out the more than 80-year-old culvert on the Waiaha Drainageway near Kona Tiki Hotel in Kailua-Kona. Bids are due Dec. 20.


According to the invitation for bids, the county will give the contractor 724 days from the issuance of a notice to proceed to complete the work.

Department of Public Works spokesman Barett Otani did not respond to request for comment on Monday. However, he previously said the county expected to put the project out to bid in November or December. Work, so long as there are no hiccups, could get underway in February.

The project includes demolition of pavement, culvert, walls, seawall and removal of trees; rock stream channel excavation; and the construction of a new bridge in phases, CRM wall, waterlines, sewer lines, pavement markings, signs, and adjusting valve box frames and covers, according to the invitation for bids posted Nov. 15.

The county anticipates it’ll cost about $12 million; 80 percent of which will be funded by the Federal Highways Administration. The county previously allocated its $2 million toward the work and the feds have contributed $9.66 million.

Phased construction would minimize impacts on traffic and pedestrians. The county said it will keep two lanes of traffic open at all times and install a temporary pedestrian path and bridge.

Despite the bridge being described as “structurally deficient” and “functionally obsolete” and near the end of its design life in a final Environmental Assessment for the project, Otani said previously that bridge engineers have deemed it safe for use.

The culvert, also referred to as a bridge, was built in 1937 and is located about 1.5 miles south of the center of Kailua Village. It’s been reinforced over the years, most recently after flooding in September 2015, but it needs to be replaced after preliminary design work determined it cannot cope with repairs, maintenance and upgrades.


The new $12 million structure would include a wider and longer culvert structure capable of handling more water flow with a longer, wider bridge above featuring bike lanes and raised sidewalks.

The county had worked to address the culvert in 1998, but the project was put on hold because of financial constrictions. Current efforts to replace it started around 2014.

  1. Big ideas November 27, 2018 6:38 am

    “The county anticipates it’ll cost about $12 million” OK folks – place your bets… high will it go?

    I say $25M and three years to complete with the County picking up the difference because of delays.

  2. LOL in Kona November 27, 2018 7:02 am

    Hee, Hee, Hee,
    and everyone in the Hilo goberment deserves a raise
    ….they don’t make as much as the mainland folk for living in this “slum”

    and they need money for the leeches, loafers, and druggies
    ….building that “place” out near the harbor that no one wants.
    and medical? you want medical?
    …the assistant to the assistant will see you…sometime
    Yep, they’se is doing just fine with their pension, medical, etc…
    ….they really deserve their raise….
    Pave the roads? are you kidding?

  3. Buds4All November 27, 2018 12:37 pm

    Two Freaking years?

  4. Buds4All November 27, 2018 12:37 pm

    What about a freaking health system?

  5. KonaRich November 27, 2018 4:48 pm

    No real need to do this project. The global climate change activist groups tell us the low laying areas of Ali’i Drive will soon be flooded never to be seen again. 10-20 years at most. Don’t believe me read the UN global climate change report. I for one am not sure how we will survive the ocean rising, we’re all doomed.

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