Bay Front Trail work ahead in Hilo

  • Wind blows palm fronds on trees along the Hilo Bayfront Trail in 2019 in Hilo. (Tribune-Herald file photo)

HILO — Design work is being finalized on the second phase of the Hilo Bayfront Trails, and the project is expected to go to bid in the coming months.

Matthias Kusch, vice president of Hilo Bayfront Trails Inc., the nonprofit spearheading the effort to build a shared-use pathway throughout the Bayfront area and, ultimately, out to Hilo Harbor, said engineering plans are in their final review.

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The group expects comments to be back and the final review to be completed by the end of the month, he said.

Barett Otani, an executive assistant to Mayor Harry Kim, said the county Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Public Works’ Engineering Division is overseeing the design and bidding process.

“Bidding hasn’t started yet,” Otani said. “Hopefully, we can get it out to bid (in) February or March.”

Construction will take five to six months once the notice to proceed is received, he said.

“Depending on what comes of (the bid process) will determine how quickly or not it moves forward,” Kusch said.

Kusch said he hopes “contractors can sharpen their pencils a little bit and come in at a reasonable price so we can complete the whole project and not cut off amenities or anything to that effect.”

Funding has been finalized and permitting for the project is complete.

The existing first phase of the trails was completed in late 2016 and consists of three separate sections: from Mooheau Park to Pauahi Street, from Pauahi Street to the Bayfront canoe hale, and from Pauahi Street to the Bayfront soccer fields. Together, the sections total 5,125 feet, or about a mile.

Phase two will be just a little more than 2,100 feet and will complete a loop with the existing trail near the Bayfront soccer fields and extend a path downtown behind Ben Franklin Crafts.

Phase two will cost approximately $440,000, the Tribune-Herald previously reported.

Hilo Bayfront Trails is responsible for $65,000 of that anticipated cost, a federal grant from the National Park Service will cover $220,000, and the county will cover the remaining $155,000.

The Edmund Olson Trust also committed a $250,000 match of local donors for the trail’s construction.

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Kusch said he had hoped the project to be “a little further along” by this point in time, “but that’s the nature of these things, and we’re close. I am waiting with baited breath to find out how it all shakes out.”

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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