By Wendy Osher
The state begins a sand replenishment project at Waikiki Beach this week using state-of-the-art sand blowing technology.
Over a three month period, crews will work to restore sand to approximately 1,730 feet of shoreline extending from the west end of Kuhio Beach near the Duke Kahanamoku statue to the Royal Hawaiian and Sheraton Waikiki hotels.
Decades of coastal erosion has led to the disappearance of sand from the shoreline.
The objective, state officials say, is to restore the valuable and heavily utilized recreational beach to its 1985 condition.
A blessing ceremony was held on Wednesday, and pre-construction begins on January 9, 2012, with sand pumping to begin as early as January 23.
The project is made possible through a public and private partnership, with financial support coming from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Beach Fund, the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, and Kyo-ya Hotels and Resorts, LP.
“We are very excited about this project and the opportunity to reclaim beach sand that has been lost to erosion. This recycling program offers a more efficient method for maintaining a recreational beach while mitigating some of the environmental impacts of imported sand to the Waikiki ecosystem over the past sixty-plus years.” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson.
“Waikiki is an icon of Hawai‘i that has cultural, recreational, and economic significance to both our residents and visitors. It is our responsibility to maintain this world-famous beach and replenish those areas that disappearing due to coastal erosion,” said Aila.
The sand replenishment project will involve the recovery of up to 24,000 cubic yards of sand from areas located 1,500 to 3,000 feet offshore, at water depths of about 10 to 20 feet. The sand will then be brought onshore to a de-watering site.
Transport of sand along the shore in the project area will be carried out with a low pressure pneumatic sand blower, using a small-diameter plastic pipe that is buried underground.
The project was scheduled during the winder because it required a 60-day operating window of calm seas. Winters in Waikiki typically have the mildest wind and wave conditions according to DLNR authorities.
Construction activities will commence during daylight hours, from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., 7 days a week until the project is completed.