Kolekole Bridge Repairs

Honomu, Hawaii


Submitted by: Kiewit

Owner: Hawaii Dept. of Transportation

Lead Design Firm/Structural: KSF Inc.

General Contractor: Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.

Construction Manager: SSFM International

Subcontractors: Aloha Machine and Welding; Brand Safway; Cor-Ray Painting Co.; Kai Hawaii; Pacific Concrete Cutting and Coring

When heavy rainfall damaged the Kolekole Bridge in 2018, the Hawaii Dept. of Transportation (HDOT) placed restrictions on the crossing, creating significant transportation issues for the local community.

The project involved procuring all temporary and permanent materials necessary for the repair; installing a 270-ft overhead Acrow truss system to support the bridge from the existing columns with beams and hanger rods; and providing additional support to the existing bridge structure by installing steel members at all three piers and the mid-spans.

Since this was an existing bridge, the team didn’t take the drawings for granted. Engineers spent a significant amount of time double-checking, even triple-checking, the numbers. By thoroughly comparing the drawings to the existing conditions before any cuts or holes in steel were made, the contractor was able to ensure a quality product.

During construction, the bridge’s tolerable weight was reduced to 12 tons, allowing only one standard-size vehicle to cross at a time. Large tractor trailers were too heavy to cross and strict limitations were imposed for trucks and buses. This meant equipment selection had to be very strategic. The team had to use equipment capable of performing picks, but not too heavy to exceed the allowable weight, which took significant planning and coordination.

Kolekole Bridge Repairs

Photo courtesy Kiewit

Another major challenge was maintaining traffic in each direction during construction. With no full closures allowed, the team only had one lane from which to work. This took extra coordination when staging equipment and finalizing a pick plan to set the girders that allowed ample space for installation of the truss system. Equipment and material delivery was planned in phases using only one lane and taking into account the weight capacity of construction equipment in addition to the live traffic loads of vehicles driving in the second lane.

With work being completed 100 ft in the air, accessing the bridge from underneath required the installation of a hanging scaffolding system attached to the existing structure. The addition of an access way underneath the bridge on both sides mitigated tight working areas and gave crews extra space to perform work safely and efficiently.

Work began in October 2021 and the bridge was reopened to the public in July 2022. The successful completion of this project had a significant impact on the local community. It is now safe for multiple vehicles of all sizes to cross the Kolekole Bridge.