New section of Diamond Head Trail opens - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New section of Diamond Head Trail opens

Dan Quinn Dan Quinn

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Its not an elevator, but a safer, wider walkway has been built on Diamond Head Trail and technically it's about 15 steps shorter.

It's been years of step by step planning and now the new section, 761 feet in elevation, is ready to go.  The idea is to have visitors go up the old stairway through the bunkers and walk back down on the new stairs.  It's all to prevent delays and congestion, important since as many as 4,000 people hike the trail a day.

"After they've looked at the view they'll come back down this way to prevent what's become a real traffic jam of visitors up at the summit it's just getting so heavily visited that people can't even move around. We think with the one way circulation it will really help," said Dan Quinn, Department of Land and Natural Resources State Parks Administrator.

But first, now that this new walkway is done the state will close the old walkway in order to widen the narrowest area from 18 to 30 inches.  During construction the trail will be closed at 2:00 Monday through Friday until November 10.

It's tough work.  Materials have to be carried or flown up.

"Which makes for a long and expensive proposition but we think it's worth it," said Quinn.

The cost to build the new trail loop is $1.1 million and widening the narrow ledge on the old walkway is another $500,000.

Brenda and Ken Korach from Cherry Hill, New Jersey were unknowingly the first visitors to go on the new walkway.

"It's very nice. They seem to have covered all the bases and it's safe and secure and we had a great time and we hope the next 10 or 12 million people that come up here will enjoy it as well," said Ken Korach.

And whatever way you make it to the top the view is always worth it.

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