Governor’s Advisory Council Update

Department of Transportation Deputy Director Michael Formby told Molokai Advisory Council members of upcoming harbor restorations throughout the state.

State Harbors and Kawela Bridge.

By Léo Azambuja

The Governor’s Advisory Council met last week Tuesday, mainly to hear from DOT Deputy Director Michael Formby about improvements on state harbors. Kaunakakai Wharf and Kalaupapa Harbor are not in the DOT’s plans for modernizing sea cargo transportation infrastructure.

Formby said the affected harbors will include Kahului Harbor, on Maui, Honolulu and Kalaeloa harbors, on Oahu, Hilo and Kawaihae Harbor, on the Big Island, and Kauai’s Nawiliwili Harbor. Improvements will last about six years and will cost $842 million, which will come from Harbors Special Fund.

The meeting also reviewed the proposed design for the Kawela Bridge project, brought up during the council’s last meeting.

The project is scheduled to go up for a bid in late 2008, and begin construction in 2009.

The new bridge is designed to have an 80-foot concrete through below sea level. At high tide that would require pumping to remove standing water. After heavy storms that would require heavy equipment to remove rocks and debris.

Kai Hawaii’s engineer Michael Hunnemann said the bridge is not designed to solve flooding, but to alleviate it. Residents were angry that engineers did consult with area residents to come up with viable alternatives.

Department of Transit (DOT) administrator Glenn Yasui said there are funds available now. However, to solve the problem completely would be too costly, he said.

Residents said the DOT, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Soil and Water Conservation, the Army Corps of Engineers, and local landowners should work together to achieve a permanent solution.

Council members Kammy Purdy, Bob Granger, and Weldon Wichman advised the Governor’s liaison Charen Ching to bring the residents’ recommendations to Governor Linda Lingle. Council Jersula Manaba and Chair Janice Kalanihuia were excused.

The council’s next meeting will be April 8, and member said they will ask DLNR representatives to attend. Anyone needing special accommodations may call (808) 586-0001. For more information, email Ching at


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