An ongoing three-month public-private partnership to improve Waikiki Beach by restoring this valuable and heavily utilized recreational area will shift into active beachbuilding phase beginning March 12. The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is conducting a project to restore sand to approximately 1,730 linear feet of shoreline from the west end of the Kuhio Beach swim basin, near the Duke Kahanamoku statue, to the existing Royal Hawaiian groin.
The affected work area is limited to this relatively small stretch of Waikiki Beach. Ocean accessibility is being maintained at all times during the project. Pedestrian access through the project area will be provided at intervals along the beach to ensure public access to the ocean at all times. The public may also choose to walk around the work area. This project is a prime example of public and private partnerships, with financial support coming from DLNR’s Beach Fund, the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, and Kyo-Ya Hotels and Resorts, LP.
Bringing natural sand from nearshore deposits back to the beach will have significant beneficial impacts to the state’s most famous beach consistent with protecting the local environment, strengthening the desirability of Waikiki as a resort destination, and enhancing the enjoyment of the beach by visitors
Since active work began January 23, a substantial amount of sand has already been recovered from offshore deposits via a suction dredge barge, and placed in a holding area in the Kuhio beach basin. This sand is now ready for distribution along Waikiki beach. While the preferred method for moving the sand onto Waikiki beach was to blow the dried sand through a pipe along the beach for placement, the desired results were not obtained.
“We recognize the high importance of Waikiki to our visitors, our visitor industry and its employees, and to local residents. To expedite the completion of the project — on schedule and on budget — our contractor will activate their secondary plan of using machinery to manually move and place the sand in its final location,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson.
“We are thankful for the continuing support of our partners, including the Waikiki Improvement Association, Hawai‘i Hotel Association, and City and County of Honolulu, who recognize that every effort is being made to minimize inconvenience to the public, and who are actively engaged in helping visitors understand that Waikiki beach is still open for use and that this project will bring about a better beach we can all enjoy,” Aila said.
“Everyone worked really hard to consider various options to complete this important project while reducing the inconveniences to residents, businesses and visitors, and still keep Waikiki Beach open,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. “Waikiki is one of the quintessential images of Hawai‘i that attracts thousands of visitors and residents to its shores each year. When the project is completed, the Waikiki shoreline will be restored and enjoyed by all for years to come. This project is an essential long-term investment in Waikiki, our visitor industry infrastructure and Hawai‘i’s tourism economy,” McCartney said.
“This project to improve Waikiki Beach is long overdue,” said Rick Egged, president of the Waikiki Improvement Association. “Since 1985, this area of shoreline has experienced significant beach loss due to long-term, chronic erosion. By recycling eroded sand that lies just offshore, we can expand the recreational beach and provide significantly more space for visitors and residents to enjoy Waikiki.”
Beginning March 12, areas of the beach will be cordoned-off during active hauling and grading operations between 7 a.m. and noon seven days a week. The project will be done in phases to minimize the impact to beach users.
Dredging Today Staff, March 2, 2012