The new two-lane, 360-foot Kahoma Stream Bridge, part of the decades-old Lahaina bypass project, was "topped off" Monday in a ceremony attended by government officials, bridge builders and bypass advocates.
Rep. Angus McKelvey, who represents the area and attended the ceremony, explained that "topping off" meant that the bridge was essentially completed. All that had to be done was to remove the support structures before the bridge's official opening to traffic in December.
That segment of the bypass, which aims to reduce traffic in Lahaina town, will run from Lahainaluna Road and the Keawe Street extension, a state Department of Transportation news release said.
Attending the topping-off ceremony (from left) were Glenn Okimoto, director of the state Department of Transportation; state Rep. Angus McKelvey (back); Gov. Neil Abercrombie; state Sen. Roz Baker; William Wilson (back), president of general contractor Hawaiian Dredging; Bob Pure, president of Lahaina Bypass Now; Ferdinand Cajigal (back), DOT engineering program manager; Charlene Shibuya, DOT district construction engineer; and Mayor Alan Arakawa.
State Department of Transportation photo
"The opening of the first segment in December will give motorists a new alternate route over eight-tenths of a mile, bypassing the busiest tourist section of Lahaina town," said Glenn Okimoto, director of the state Department of Transportation. "This will provide immediate relief for the Lahainaluna area that includes three large school campuses with approximately 2,300 students."
McKelvey added that the bypass also offers a much-needed emergency evacuation route if main roads are blocked by fire or other disasters.
"The completion of this bridge represents the beginning of the materialization of the Lahaina bypass and for the community, a realization of a long-awaited need," he said.
"This is a significant milestone in the construction of the first phase of the Lahaina bypass road," added state Sen. Roz Baker, whose district includes the west side.
The $24.3 million bridge spans the Kahoma Stream Gulch and utilizes an inverted tier arch design, which places support beams below the road surface rather than above, a news release said. This design minimizes obstructions of ocean views and eliminates the need for foundation pillars below the bridge, which will leave stream flow unobstructed.
"I congratulate Wilson Okamoto Corp. for the fantastic, award-winning bridge design, which preserves the gorgeous views from the roadway, is less intrusive on the landscape and preserves the functionality of the Kahoma Stream channel," said Baker.
She also lauded general contractor Hawaiian Dredging.
After the December phase opening, the next part of the bypass from Keawe Street to Puamana is expected to open in February, said McKelvey.
Attendees for the ceremony included Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Mayor Alan Arakawa and Bob Pure, president of the board of Lahaina Bypass Now.