High bids force changes to Kauai boat harbor plan
LIHUE » The state delayed a project to upgrade Kauai's Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor after bids came in last month at twice the projected cost.
The $9 million project to dredge the harbor between Waimea and Kekaha and to build other improvements was first proposed in 1999 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state. Money was included in the federal budget in 2003.
Recreational boaters thought there would be a floating dock accommodating 45 boats, as well as a rebuilt breakwater.
But nothing has happened.
"The project is dead," said Richard Rice, administrator for small harbors at the state Department of Land and Natural Resources' Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.
When bids for the project came in last month, they were each for about $17 million, or twice the projected cost, Rice said.
"I don't know why the bids came in so high," he said.
About 80 percent of the cost was to be funded by the federal government, with 20 percent coming from the state.
"The bids came in high, but we have to do something to salvage part of the plan," said William Mossman, a leader of the Hawaii Boaters Political Action Association.
A meeting is planned for Monday in Honolulu with state officials to discuss the project, said Mossman, who also said state officials have refused to have a public meeting.
Rice said a public meeting would be held next month, but Mossman said that would be too little, too late.
"I hate to see our money get wasted. The track we have to take now is to concentrate on the dredging and not the breakwater. We have enough money to do that," Mossman said.
His son, Glenn Mossman of Kekaha, president of the Kikiaola Westside Boat Club, said that by not dredging the harbor, boats have been damaged, and that without a breakwater, waves breaking at the harbor entrance create a dangerous situation.
During high-surf conditions, many boaters in Waimea and Kekaha use the Port Allen Small Boat Harbor instead to get to the ocean, he said.