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Saddle Road reconstruction project nears completion

June 17, 2017 - 12:05am

HILO — The state Department of Transportation’s reconstruction project on Saddle Road is nearing completion.

The project is about 81 percent complete and expected to wrap on schedule in August, weather permitting, said department spokeswoman Shelly Kunishige.

Traffic delays on Saddle Road were common earlier in the year as vehicles were limited to one-way passages on portions of the 5.7-mile construction area. The new road has since been paved, but pavement markings have yet to be added.

Remaining work also includes installing rumble strips along shoulders, placing signage and connecting water lines. Construction of road tie-ins at Puainako Street, as well as access road culverts and stone headwalls still need to be completed.

The project began in April last year and is the final step in reconstructing the eastern portion of the road. The new portion turns south at milepost 8.5 to connect with the Puainako Street extension.

Nevada-based contractor Road and Highway Builders LLC received the $56.8 million contract. The company has an office in Honolulu.

Reconstruction is a joint effort of the state DOT and the Central Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Association, with about 80 percent of funding coming from the federal government.

The final extension of Saddle Road will be on its western side, and will connect with Queen Kaahumanu Highway. A draft environmental assessment was completed for the project, but it is unclear when funding would be made available.

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