Bridge nets accolades for design

The Kahoma Stream Bridge, with its inverted tier arch design, has received the 2013 Overall Grand Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Hawaii Section.

The project, which received the award at a ceremony last weekend, will now be submitted to the ASCE national competition, a news release from the state Department of Transportation said.

The ASCE Hawaii Section annually recognizes an exemplary civil engineering project that best illustrates superior civil engineering skills and represents a significant contribution to civil engineering progress and society, the news release said.

The bridge is a key component in the first segment of the long-awaited Lahaina Bypass that will allow motorists to bypass the busy intersections along Honoapiilani Highway in town. The segment was 0.8 miles of the 9-mile-long proposed highway and runs from Lahainaluna Road to the Keawe Street extension.

The 360-foot, two-lane bridge structure, which spans the Kahoma Stream Gulch, utilizes an inverted tier arch design. It places support beams below the road surface rather than above, the news release said. The design was selected to minimize obstructions of ocean views for motorists and the Lahaina community. The unique support beam design also eliminated the need for foundation pillars below the bridge, which leaves the Kahoma Stream unobstructed.

Construction of the bridge was completed in December at an approximate cost of $24.3 million. Wilson Okamoto Corp. designed the bridge and Hawaiian Dredging was the general contractor.

“The Hawaii Department of Transportation and our Highways Division is honored to receive this very prestigious engineering award,” said state Department of Transportation Director Glenn Okimoto. “Completion of this bridge was a key component in the first segment of the Lahaina Bypass, giving motorists a new alternate route to bypass the busiest section of Lahaina town.”

Transportation Department officials are “cautiously optimistic” that the next phase of the Lahaina bypass, a 1.7-mile stretch from Lahainaluna Road to Hokiokio Place in Puamana, may be open at the end of October or the beginning of November.

Caroline Sluyter, Transportation Department spokeswoman, said Wednesday that final details are being worked out with landowners and that no firm opening date has been established yet.