WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A South swell expected to hit Oahu as early as Thursday is causing another delay in the Waikiki Beach sand replenishment project.
The barge moored off shore that had been pumping sand from underwater deposits back to the beach has been moved to a safe haven until the big surf comes and goes.
"The latest issue is the South swell," said Rick Egged, President of the Waikiki Improvement Association. "They've pulled the barge out for safety reasons so right now the project is on hold for a few days. We look to resume pumping the sand on Tuesday (April 3) and hopefully that means that we will then have enough sand to begin hauling again the following Tuesday."
The project goal is to widen the beach as much as 37 feet from the Duke Kahanamoku Statue to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel (1,730 linear feet) by reclaiming 24,000 cubic yards of sand from off-shore and distributing it on the beach.
As of Wednesday, March 28, the sand had been spread from the Duke statue to the Moana Surfrider hotel.
"I think it's great. The beach definitely needs some more replenishment because it's been diminishing over the years that I've been here," said Nicole Stier, a visitor from California who vacations in Hawaii regularly.
"Before the high tide would come up all the way to this wall up here," said Waikiki Beach Boy Michael Carvalho as he motioned to a sea wall in front of the Moana Surfrider. "Now look at all this we got over here. Beautiful," he said referencing a noticeably wider beach.
The $2.2 million dollar project was originally scheduled to be finished by March 31. It suffered a setback when the "preferred" method of blowing sand along the beach through a pipeline did not work as well as expected. The state then decided to truck the sand from one end of the project to the other and that change moved the project completion date to the end of April. Egged said the goal is still to finish the job by April 30.