Maui News

Waikīkī Beach Undergoes Sand Replenishment for Second Time in a Decade

April 22, 2021, 8:35 AM HST
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Waikīkī beach improvement project (March 2, 2021). Photo courtesy: DLNR.

A planned beach maintenance and sand replenishment project at Waikīkī Beach enters its final stage in the heart of Hawai‘i’s major tourism district. The project started on Jan. 26 and has been successful in retrieving approximately 20,000 cubic yards of offshore sand and stockpiling it at the Kūhiō Beach staging area in anticipation of final placement in the Royal Hawaiian to Moana Beach cell. 

The project retrieved sand from a large sand field in shallow waters about 1,000-feet offshore.

The sand placement will start at the Diamond Head end of the Royal Hawaiian beach cell near the Duke Kahanamoku statue and the placement will progress 100-200 linear feet down the beach working towards the Royal Hawaiian groin each day and be completed by mid-May.   

This is the second time in a decade Waikīkī has had a sand replenishment project and OCCL Administrator Sam Lemmo thinks, due to sea level rise, this will be necessary over the course of the next few decades, every 5-10 years.   

The DLNR Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands oversees the replenishment, and together with contractors, Kiewit Infrastructure Group and American Marine, and the Waikīkī Beach Special Improvement District Association are announcing an updated truck hauling and sand placement schedule as the project enters the final stage. 

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Dolan Eversole of the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant and WBSIDA explained, “Instead of hauling sand seven half-days each week, as originally planned, this new schedule should cut the total days on site by at least two weeks. That means a shorter duration of interruptions and disruptions for beach-goers and surrounding businesses and completion of the project in time for the summer holiday season.” 

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Lemmo said, “We encountered a few delays, but after three months, we are happy to announce that the pumping phase has been nearly completed and we are ready to move the sand on to the beach. There are numerous cost-savings and operational efficiencies associated with moving to the accelerated six-day-a-week schedule including our planned completion before June.” 

Contractors estimate the addition of five hours of hauling each day could result in two to three fewer weeks of hauling. The beach will remain open, but the truck haul route along the beach will be closed when active, with dedicated access points to allow access to the ocean.

In the video below, Lemmo explains the ins and outs of a beach improvement project and viewers get a close-up look at the work, offshore and onshore. 

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