Popular Waikiki promenade remains closed amid structural concerns

Even at low tide, the damage can be hard to see from shore.
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 5:02 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 25, 2022 at 5:35 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Officials say a popular promenade that borders the ocean behind the Waikiki Aquarium may be in danger of collapsing.

Even at low tide, the damage can be hard to see from shore.

But look closely and you’ll see a big hole in the ewa end of the seawall directly behind the aquarium.

The University of Hawaii, which owns the aquarium, provided this picture of the damage taken right after the hole was discovered by a beachgoer in late January.

The University of Hawaii, which owns the aquarium, provided this picture of the damage taken...
The University of Hawaii, which owns the aquarium, provided this picture of the damage taken right after the hole was discovered by a beachgoer in late January.(University of Hawaii)

“It’s important for us to note, we don’t yet know the exact cause,” said UH spokeswoman Moani Keala Nabarro. “But what it appears to be linked to is what we’ve been seeing along many sections of Waikiki for some time now as a result of sea-level rise, erosion and changing tides.”

A white barrier plastered with posters warning the public to keep off the unsafe walkway has blocked the promenade for about seven months.

Although not imminent, officials say it could collapse.

“We do have staff that are constantly checking, inspecting,” said Keala Nabarro.

Just a couple hundred yards away, the city recently completed a $2 million project to stabilize part of the damaged seawall. A nearby lifeguard tower was also relocated.

Waikiki regular Steven Scott says the signs are enough to make many folks avoid the area.

But not everyone.

“And people, believe it or not, they just disregard it and walk around,” said Scott.

Keala Nabarro added, “We do understand this is an inconvenience.”

She confirms repairs could take a year and a half or more.

“Because it’s along the coast it takes a little longer for those permits to be approved,” Keala Nabarro said. “The earliest we could start construction would be the winter of 2023. So, November, December.”

There’s no word on how much the project could cost.

In the meantime, barriers prohibiting foot traffic will remain in place.