(BIVN) – The Highway 132 recovery project that lava-locked residents of Puna have been clamoring for will be added to the Hawaiʻi County Capital Budget, if the Hawaiʻi County Council approves Bill 46 during its meeting in Kona on March 28.
The bill, introduced by Puna councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz, “adds the Public Works Highway 132 Road Restoration project to the Capital Budget: Federal Highway Administration ($40 million) and County ($10 million), for a total appropriation of $50 million. Funds for this project shall be provided from Federal Grants Receivable ($40 million) and General Obligation Bonds, Capital Projects Fund – Fund Balance and/or Other Sources ($10 million),” according to the meeting agenda posted this week.
“Funds would be used to restore 3.2 miles of road which is inundated by lava, in order to provide property owner access and connectivity to Highway 137,” the bill description says.
The bill was waived from the Council Finance Committee.
“The near-term goal is to reestablish access over a temporary road to homes and farms in the kipuka (land isolated by recent lava flows) along Highway 132, including connections to Government Beach Road and Lighthouse Road at Four Corners,” the Hawaiʻi County Kīlauea Eruption Recovery website states. “Both temporary and permanent routes are being evaluated, with guidance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and State regulatory agencies to ensure the County meets all necessary permitting and reimbursement requirements.The Department of Public Works (DPW) is working to complete temporary road construction before October 5, 2019 to qualify for 100% FHWA reimbursement.”
Right of entry letters have been sent to landowners abutting Highway 132 and Pohoiki Road “to inform them of road construction that may require limited entry on their property,” the county says.
The most recent Estimated Schedule posted to the County recovery website, which is subject to change, reads:
- June-July 2019: complete Light Detection and Ranging (Drone) photogrammetry survey of the lava inundated roads
- Summer 2019: consultants complete an alternative study comparing and recommending permanent alternatives for Highway 132 as part of the federally-mandated NEPA process
- August-September 2019: complete permitting requirements for temporary road construction, including but not limited to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Categorial Exclusion (CatEx) permit, Special Management Area (SMA) permit, and a grading permit which will be reviewed by DPW and State Historic Preservation Division.
- August-September 2019: complete design work for road construction
- September-October 2019: construction of Highway 132 temporary road contingent on meeting permit requirements