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Saddle Road reaches major milestone

Saddle Road West Side project eastern portion. Hawaii 24/7 File Photo

Saddle Road West Side project eastern portion. Hawaii 24/7 File Photo

MEDIA RELEASE

The Federal Highway Administration – Central Federal Lands Highways Division, in cooperation with the state Department of Transportation and the Department of the Army Pohakuloa Training area, has announced a major milestone in the work on the Saddle Road West Side project on Hawaii Island.

The first phase of the Saddle Road West Side project, that will eventually complete Saddle Road from Mamalahoa Highway to the improved Saddle Road section between Milepost 14 and 42, has been completed.

The work consisted of a 1.2 million cubic yard grading project that prepared the area for the next phase which includes paving. Work is currently six months ahead of schedule and on budget at $33.7 million.

The next phase of the project is a $30.8 million contract that includes $13.5 million in Transportation Income Generating Economic Recovery as “TIGER” grant funds and Hawaii State Transportation Program funds, was awarded in October 2012 to Goodfellow Bros, Inc.

Preliminary work is scheduled to begin now and major construction is to begin in January of 2013. Completion date is set for August 2013.

A fantastic composite photo of the Saddle Road project below.

Photography by Brian E. Powers | Special to Hawaii 24/7

Photography by Brian E. Powers | Special to Hawaii 24/7

Photography by Brian E. Powers | Special to Hawaii 24/7

By Brian Powers

Looking at the photo above you might think it was taken from a multi million dollar satellite hundreds of miles in space. Not so, I took this photo last week from the worn out pilot seat of Cherokee 26Mike.

So what and where is this? See if you can guess as you scroll down the photo.

It is obvious it is a road, but where? This is the new Saddle Road extension being built between the old Saddle Road which runs between Hilo and West Hawaii along the saddle between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea Mountains. This is an eleven mile new road that will be much closer to Kona than the old road and cut the travel time between Hilo and Kona considerably.

So, the question you are thinking is how did he shoot a photo that looks like it was taken from from space when all he has is a single engine plane that can’t get any higher than 14,000 feet?

The simple answer is I didn’t shoot a photo of this newest road on Hawai’i, I took 219 photos! That’s right, using my vertical camera mount I flew five long straight legs over the site and shot 219 digital photos and then using a professional panorama software I stitched them all together into a seamless, and huge, final photo. When finally rendered the photo was a massive 1.85 Gigabytes in size!

I have to admit that this was a challenging assignment. With gusting trade winds tossing me about the sky and rising terrain on each leg I flew, not to mention that there is a restricted area at the very edge of the top leg that contains the US Army training area at Pohakaloa where they were shooting artillery and racing attack helicopters just beyond where I have to quickly turn around or get shot at!

Flying a plane in rough winds while pushing hard to climb a mountain and watching a monitor showing the ground below and a GPS iPad attached to the yoke showing my waypoints to fly while making sure that my camera is in fact focusing and shooting photos through the hole in the floor of my plane is a very tough thing to do properly. I must say that I was very happy when I flew the last leg, pulled back the power and headed down to the sea far below to make my approach back into Kona Airport.

I hope you like this weeks photo!

Mahalo and please have a great week!

Brian

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Nov 28, 2014 / 2:15 pm

 

 

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