Maui Business

Final EA Filed for Kalaupapa Airport Renovation

June 25, 2019, 7:55 AM HST
* Updated June 27, 10:47 AM
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The State of Hawai‘i, Department of Transportation, Airports Division has prepared a Final Environmental Assessment for improvements at Molokai’s Kalaupapa Airport, with a Finding Of No Significant Impact.

According to information compiled by the State Department of Health Office of Environmental Quality Control, “the proposed renovations and upgrades will improve safety and enhance operations of the airport, ensure the airport facilities are accessible to individuals with disabilities, make the airport compliant with Federal Aviation Administration regulations, and allow the airport facilities to continue to serve the transportation and service needs of the Kalaupapa community and National Historic Park.”

Kalaupapa Airport. PC: Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation, Airports Division / Final Environmental Assessment / Finding of No Significant Impact

The project is located within the Kalaupapa National Historical Park in Kalawao County on the isolated north coast of Moloka‘i.

Beginning in 1866, patients with Hansen’s disease were forcibly segregated to the site, which is located at the base of 2,000-foot cliffs.

In 1976, the Kalaupapa Settlement was designated as a National Historic Landmark District; and in 1980, the Kalaupapa National Historical Park was established.

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There are 88 people that currently inhabit Kalawao County, including state and federal employees, according to 2017 data compiled by the US Census Bureau and detailed in the Final EA document.  As of May 2015, there were six remaining Hansen’s disease patients living within Kalaupapa.

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According to the Final EA FONSI, specific improvements will include:

  1. renovation of the existing airport terminal;
  2. renovation of the existing maintenance building;
  3. Precision Approach Path Indicator and runway/taxiway lighting improvements;
  4. construction of a new Aircraft Rescue Firefighting vehicle garage; and
  5. installation of a new Automated Weather Observing System.

According to the Final EA, construction is proposed to start upon approval of required environmental permits, and is expected to conclude on or around 2023.  Cost of project renovations and improvements is estimated at around $5 million, and will be funded by the Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation, Airports Division.

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