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County and state to see funds for bridge repair

The Maui News

Hawaii will receive $339 million in new federal funding over five years, which will help repair and improve the state’s bridges, including those in East and South Maui as well as on Molokai.

Hawaii will receive its first round of funding of $67.8 million this year, said Hawaii U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz.

The funding comes from the federal Department of Transportation’s newly launched Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, Preservation, Protection and Construction Program, which was created by the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by Congress and signed into law in November.

The Democratic Party of Hawaii said in a news release that the Federal Highways Administration will soon publish guidance on the new program that will make it easier to fix city-and-county-owned bridges, not just those on federal aid highways. It will assist Hawaii’s four counties to make sure smaller bridges throughout the islands are also eligible for federal funding.

It is estimated that there are 84 bridges and more than 664 miles of highway in poor condition in Hawaii, including 18 bridges in Maui County, Hawaii’s Democratic Party said.

Some of the poorly rated bridges carry high traffic volumes and are several decades old, including the 40-year-old Piilani Highway bridges over Waipuilani Gulch, Kulanihakoi Gulch and Waiakoa Gulch, each carrying 42,400 vehicles per day, and 11 bridges that are a century old along Hana Highway.

Molokai also has the 55-year-old Kamehameha V Highway bridge over Honouliwai Stream, which is rated as “poor” but is a lifeline for residents of Molokai’s east side.

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