Waikiki beach widening to use new method

Aka Keawe
Aka Keawe
Sam Lemmo
Sam Lemmo
Rick Egged
Rick Egged

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - On the Waikiki shoreline, what's here today will be gone tomorrow.

From Kuhio Beach to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel erosion works overtime.

"Right there by Duke's it breaks up on the wall. In fact sometimes they have to put sand bags up," said Aka Keawe, a surf instructor with Star Beach Boys.

"If these areas completely erode, you're talking about a collapse of the platform from which people access laterally along Wakkiki Beach," said Sam Lemmo, administrator of the state Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands.

The loss rate's about one to two feet a year.

The state wants to replenish 24,000 cubic yards of sand, bringing it in from 2,000 feet off shore to widen the beach by 37 feet.

"The sand would be dumped in a hopper and basically blown through a pipeline down Waikiki Beach and then sprayed out," Lemmo said.

The state wants to do the work in February to avoid the south swells. It would take about 45 days to make the beach bigger and more appealing, especially with 15,000 visitors expected at next year's APEC meetings.

"In 2008 we cooperated with HTA in a research study by Hospitality Associates that determined that the value of Waikiki Beach in total is worth about $2 billion to our visitor industry annually," Waikiki Improvement Association president Rick Egged said.

"We need more beach," Keawe said. "It's part of our commerce, right? The more beach the more tourists."

The sand blowing technique is new. It's different from the dredge and spread method used in 2006 when parts of Kuhio Beach were replenished.

Back then surfers worried more sand would alter the surf breaks.

"There was no perceptible affect or change whatsoever on the surfing sites," Lemmo said.

The project will cost about $2 million to get the sand moving back to the shore.

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State floating plan to widen Waikiki Beach

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