The state Department of Transportation has begun two improvement projects at Big Island facilities.
The Harbors Division has kicked off a $7 million harbor terminal improvement project at Kawaihae Harbor. This harbor modernization project is part of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s New Day Work Projects.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, state DOT Director Glenn Okimoto said, “For the past 10 years, Kawaihae Harbor has experienced steady growth; these much needed improvements will ensure safe and efficient cargo operations into West Hawaii now and in the future. Kawaihae Harbor is a vital hub for the resorts, businesses, and residents along Hawaii’s west coast.”
The project will include paving 3.1 acres of land adjacent to Pier 2. The container yard will be used by shippers to load and store containers.
The project also includes associated infrastructure work such as area lighting, fire protection and drainage.
An aging Harbors Division office and comfort station will be demolished and a new Harbor Division office trailer will be installed near the South Gate.
In addition, a new comfort station will be constructed.
The terminal container yard improvements will increase cargo handling capacity by approximately 11 percent.
Construction is anticipated to continue for another 12 to 16 months.
Also part of Abercrombie’s New Day Work Projects, the state DOT has started a $14 million project to construct a modern cargo building and light industrial facility at Hilo International Airport.
Once completed, the 63,000-square foot building will serve the cargo needs of the East Hawaii community, making the work of cargo handling companies and freight forwarders more efficient and convenient.
Abercrombie said: “This is an important project for the Big Island and especially for the businesses and residents in Hilo. Not only will this project put skilled craftsmen and women to work during its construction, the completed facility will serve the needs of the community for many years in the future.”
Okimoto said: “We are pleased to see this project moving forward. This new, modern facility will be a great improvement over the existing structure, which is in need of extensive repairs.”
In addition to cargo operations, the facility will include office space for agencies that oversee freight activities and the state Department of Agriculture.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.