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Pohoiki Road restoration pushed back

The start date for the long-awaited restoration of Pohoiki Road has been pushed to 2022, after a federal agency determined an environmental assessment is required.

The Hawaii County Planning Department announced Tuesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency said the EA will be required as part of its Environmental and Historic Preservation review process.

In February, Public Works Director Ikaika Rodenhurst said he anticipated that reopening the upper part of Pohoiki Road — which was buried in lava during the 2018 eruption of Kilauea — could begin this month.

However, FEMA ultimately decided that the restoration of the upper section of Pohoiki Road shall be considered alongside a project to realign the lower section of Pohoiki Road, which triggered the additional assessment requirement.

Because of the new requirement, construction is tentatively anticipated to begin in mid-2022, with the environmental assessment to be completed early next year.

The assessment will cover both the upper and lower Pohoiki Road projects and will consider the possibility of restoring water service from Pohoiki Road to Isaac Hale Beach Park.

“The restoration of Pohoiki Road, and other road projects such as Highway 137, remain a priority, and we will continue to work with our federal partners to find ways to streamline these processes while meeting regulatory requirements,” Rodenhurst said in a statement.

Meanwhile, design work for the lower Pohoiki Road realignment project is about 30% complete.

FEMA approved a $61.5 million grant last year to cover 75% of the eruption damage to public roads, including both of the Pohoiki Road projects.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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