HILO, Hawaii – On September 7, Hawaii County Councilman Aaron Chung requested a discussion with the Department of Public Works on the ongoing delays associated with the Komohana Avenue Resurfacing Project.
“This (Oct. 7, 2015 Hawaii Tribune-Herald) article said that it’s expected to be complete by February 22 of this year,” Chung noted, “seven months ago.”
“I just wanted clarification from the department, if you guys could just tell us,” Chung asked Warren Lee, the public works director. “Because what was said in that article is not consistent – or is counter-intuitive – with what everybody else in Hilo is thinking. Okay, cannot be the weather. We have the greatest weather, right? And ‘equipment issues’. It could be equipment issues, unless you say ‘lack of using the equipment’ is the issue, right? So just tell us what’s going on over there please!”
“This project, there were two bidders,” Lee said, “and the lowest qualified bidder was about almost $5 million dollars. The second bidder was way over $5 million.”
Lee said contractor Yamada & Sons* “ended up with having only one paver to use and they had a number of other jobs that were deemed critical with the County,” such as the Pahoa Regional Park and the Hilo Drag Strip. The contractor made the business decision to go over the deadline on the Komahana project, Lee said.
The project is now in the liquidated damages stage, costing the contractor one thousand dollars a day. Lee said they are now expected to finish in October.
“These guys can lowball us and then just pay liquidated damages. I mean that that’s a bad situation and we can talk about … the ramifications of something like that later,” Chung said. “These guys are pulling off their people and equipment for another job.”
* CORRECTION to contractor name