The state Transportation Department?s Halawa Stream Bridge project has run into numerous problems and delays, causing a 5 1/2-year delay and millions of dollars in cost overruns.
Every day, thousands of people use the bridge along Kamehameha Highway right next to the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.
Construction crews are in the final stages of the project, now set to be completed this July.
"For lack of a better word, it's been an embarrassment," said Dan Meisenzahl, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.
He said a series of problems and delays increased the cost of the project by 44 percent, from $7.2 million to $10.4 million. The federal government paid for 80 percent of the cost.
"There are a lot of things that were unforeseen that happened that really prolonged the project a lot longer, and we're talking from the get go, from 2001," Meisenzahl said.
For instance, he said federal permitting regulations changed during the project.
"We got everything ready, did our due diligence and we realized, you know what, new rules, new federal laws in place, OK, we gotta get these permits. That took a couple years, and that was one of the first things that delayed the project," he said.
Then there was a 15-month delay while construction crews tried to sort out underground wires and cables.
Since one side of this bridge was built in the 1930s and the other one was constructed in the 1940s, there weren't adequate records about the underground conduits, making it very difficult to figure out who owned the wires and cables underneath the bridge.
In addition, there was a six-month delay because the bridge's new concrete pilings didn't go deep enough.
"As they were putting these in, they realized that they weren't hitting solid enough ground so they had to go in deeper, they had to change the method that they were doing it, so we had to re-assess the whole project and do a redesign," Meisenzahl said.
The redesign cost more money, and the state had to get permission from the federal government to spend extra funds to complete the extra work.
At one point, construction crews were so confident the project would finish back in 2009, they carved that year into the side of the bridge. But it won't be fully operational until this summer.
"DOT is trying to learn from its mistakes, we're putting in some things in process to make sure that things like this don't happen again," Meisenzahl said.
As a result, the DOT has doubled the number of soil borings for the Lahaina Bypass Road project on Maui, to avoid similar problems with concrete pilings there, he said.