State DOT to seek Conservation District use permit

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Acting Department of Transportation Director Mike Formby says the $57 million Hilo Harbor expansion project has been delayed over the question of whether a Conservation District use permit is needed to create an artificial reef.

Formby told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald that the department will begin the process to obtain the permit next week. He doesn't know how long it will take.

Safety concerns have been raised over the state's plan to place the artificial reef at the end of Hilo's breakwater. The location is within the state-identified personal watercraft zone.

Fisherman Ed Hayashi says thrill-craft operators won't be able to see divers when they surface.

Formby says the site has passed federal review.

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