Glitches slow Waikiki beach nourishment project

Published: Feb. 9, 2012 at 11:40 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 10, 2012 at 12:40 AM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
Sam Lemmo
Sam Lemmo

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) – "Technical glitches" are slowing the state's $2.4 million beach nourishment project in Waikiki, but the state still expects the job to be done on time and at no additional cost.

The project moves sand from offshore underwater deposits into a de-watering basin on the beach. From there it is blown through a plastic pipeline several hundred yards long to the narrow stretch of beach fronting the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Moana Surfrider. The goal is to widen the beach by 37 feet.

Shortly after the sand blowing began, engineers determined the blower was not strong enough to move a sufficient volume of sand through the entire pipeline. So the pipeline was shortened by about 100 yards. Instead of the pipeline extending all the way to the Royal Hawaiian, it now ends at the Moana.

Shortly after the pipeline was shortened, the blower broke.

Sam Lemmo, Administrator of the Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, told Hawaii News Now the blower should be fixed with a few days. And he said a second blower will be brought in to provide enough power to blow a greater volume of sand all the way to the Royal Hawaiian.

"At this time they are very successfully pumping sand from the offshore sand field to the beach and they are actually stock piling sand as we speak. The process of blowing the sand down the beach is not going as quickly as we would like and they ran into some technical glitches," Lemmo said.

"This technology is new and relatively untried. And so it is a bit of a trial and error. I like the way they (contractor Healy Tibbitts Builders) are adjusting to the problems when they arise. So if we all have a little patience, we'll get the sand where it has to go," he said.

Lemmo still expects the work will be finished in late March or early April.