The U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration has awarded a $23.46 million Port Infrastructure Development Program grant to the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation 

The grant is intended for improvements to the Port of Kawaihae, aiming to enhance operational efficiency and reduce highway traffic congestion 

Hawai‘i Director of Transportation Ed Sniffen expressed gratitude for the support from the Biden Administration, U.S. DOT, and the congressional delegation in prioritizing infrastructure projects in Hawai‘i 

The project includes widening Kawaihae Road to create a left turn lane into the main port gate 

Concrete paving will cover 10 acres in the cargo yard, replacing asphalted portions 

New 80-foot mast lighting will be installed to replace lower lighting equipment 

Conduit and raised transformer pads will be added to provide expanded electrical power plugs for refrigerated containers 

The port office building and maintenance shed will be relocated as part of the project 

These improvements will address community concerns by reducing traffic congestion and enhancing operational efficiency and safety at the port 

The grant covers 70% of the total project cost of $33.9 million, with HDOT funding the remaining balance through harbor user fees, and the project is expected to be advertised in 2025 with an estimated two-year construction timeline