Major project begins to tackle erosion hotspot on Oahu’s most famous shoreline

Major project begins to tackle erosion hotspot on Oahu’s most famous shoreline
The work is set to begin soon on a project that could help protect the shoreline. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

WAIKIKI, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Crews have started working on a new fix for an erosion hotspot in Waikiki.

They will construct a sandbag groin that will extend out into the ocean.

The structure at Kuhio Beach will be 95 feet long, 18 feet wide and 4.3 feet high.

The barrier will help to stabilize the corner of the beach where the foundation of the old Waikiki Tavern has been exposed.

Workers will bring in 700 cubic yards of sand from the Diamond Head swim basin of Kuhio Beach.

The construction is expected to last up to 3 weeks.

"It's getting bad. It's getting worse every time, so now they're finally going to do something about it," said surf instructor Chris Matteson.

According to experts, the erosion problem in that spot seems to have accelerated after the state took out two crumbling groins as part of a 2012 beach nourishment project.

"The state, they're going to do what they want to do, right? You can't help that, but I guess it was a bad mistake, right? Now they gotta put them back," said Matteson.

But others insist that the removal of the groins was necessary.

“They were deteriorated to the point that large chunks of concrete were coming off of them, rolling around in the shorebreak,” explained Dolan Eversole, Waikiki Beach Management Coordinator for the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program. “They were getting eroded from behind, so waves were actually washing behind both structures creating a funneling effect.”

The $568,000 state project is being supported through a public-private partnership with the Waikiki Beach Special Improvement District Association, which will pay for half of the cost.

"We believe that Waikiki Beach is very important to our prosperity as well as the most important natural resource to both the visitor industry and for our community," said Rick Egged, the association's president.

The association will also pay for half of a separate $2.5 million project to replace the failing Royal Hawaiian groin.

The old structure will become part of a new 160-foot long L-shaped groin that will be much wider than the current one.

"It will not result in the beach becoming magically bigger or more sand being attracted into that area, but what it should do, what we expect it to do, is stabilize that corner so we don't see those big seasonal swings," said Eversole.

After several delays and design changes, construction of the Royal Hawaiian groin is expected to start next spring.

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