Plans move forward to repair crumbling seawalls, eroding beaches in Waikiki

Plans move forward to repair crumbling seawalls, eroding beaches in Waikiki
Updated: Jun. 12, 2017 at 10:24 PM HST
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WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - With 10 days to go until the next round of "king tides," plans are moving forward to strengthen Hawaii's most famous beach.

The city's hired engineer company, Oceanit, recommended in a draft environmental assessment that the city spend $2 million to repair the crumbling sea wall that sits between Waikiki Aquarium and the Queen's surf groin, by adding form-lined concrete on the makai side and concrete support on the land side.

Chip Fletcher, associate dean of UH Manoa's School of Ocean, Earth Science and Technology, has another idea.

"It should also be thought about that instead of saying replace that sea wall, this is an opportunity to put a beach in that location," Fletcher said.

Between the Sheraton Waikiki and the Royal Hawaiian hotels, on Friday the State Department of Land and Natural Resources approved the creation of a 180-foot "T-head" structure to replace the decaying royal Hawaiian groin. However, a second opinion from an engineer is required.

"While the groins are expensive, in an era of rising sea level and where we know sand resources are scarce and expensive, when you do put in sand in the beach, you want it to be as stable as possible," said Fletcher.

Meanwhile, barriers and signs warning visitors to stay away from an eroded area near Kuhio Beach Crib Wall won't be coming down anytime soon.

Fletcher said there are no set plans right now to fix the exposed old foundation.

"It might be a signal that it's time for another injection of sand to that area," he said.

With Waikiki Beach being almost entirely man-made, Fletcher said it will have to be constantly renourished.

He said now is the time for the city and state to take advantage of improved engineering opportunities.

"There are different ages to the all the little segments of Waikiki, they all have their own problems and issues and so it's just going to be an ongoing maintenance effort," Fletcher said.

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