Work on new cargo yard at Hilo Harbor to resume


The state Department of Transportation is anticipating construction of a new cargo yard for Hilo Harbor to resume later this month.

Work on the $10 million cargo yard, to support a new 602-foot-long pier, was suspended last spring after petroleum-based contaminants were found in the soil.

DOT said the discovery required an environmental health assessment, environmental hazard evaluation and construction environmental management plan to meet state Department of Health requirements.

Derek Inoshita, a DOT spokesman, said in an email that both agencies are working on a revised environmental plan and “are hopeful that approved plans can be finalized to allow contractors to begin work by the end of September.”

In addition, construction for the Kumau Street access point is also anticipated to start shortly, he said.

Previously, the DOT estimated the delay would cost $1.5 million for the $55 million project, which includes the $37 million tab for the new Pier 4.

Estimated cost adjustments have not been finalized, Inoshita said.

“Cost increases will include necessary design revisions, worker protection, environmental protection and labor costs,” he said.

The delay was estimated to push back the project five months.

Pier construction was initially set to begin last summer.

Last spring, it was pushed back to December in response to the delay. It was then expected to be finished in February 2015.

Inoshita said that’s still the goal.

“The pier construction is anticipated to start as soon as practicable, give the available area,” he said.

Once complete, the pier and cargo yard will help expand the harbor’s capacity for interisland cargo.

Currently, Pier 2 is the harbor’s only inter-island cargo pier. It was built in the early 1920s and cannot accommodate modern container handling equipment.

The new pier project began in 2011 with the dredging of 8 acres of Hilo Bay.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.