Scientists and staff at the Institute Of Marine Biology are being forced to use a temporary floating dock to get access to their laboratories on Coconut Island.
Two months ago engineers declared part of the Kaneohe pier unsafe closing it off to cars and boats. The concrete beams and posts underneath are seriously deteriorating and the fear is it might not take much of an earthquake to collapse the entire pier.
"We are going to have to put in beams and mount platforms to hold the pier. We don't want it to fall down before we can work on it," said University of Hawaii Facilities Director David Hafner. The university plans to ask lawmakers for $9 million to stabilize the area, as well as to shore up seawalls and other facilities on Coconut Island.
"It may take a lot more than that. But this is a good starting point. Marine construction is always difficult and requires a lot of construction and attention to detail because of the ecosystems that surrounds it," Hafner said.
Hafner credits the institute?s creative staff, who quickly devised a wooden dock so boats could still pull up to load and unload at the pier.
"The island has its own pier, and its own pier problems and so we plan to do additional work there when we receive the money," Hafner said.
Until the major repairs can get underway, scientists and staff are forced to haul their supplies farther than they would like, taking valuable time away from research. The other alternative is ferrying staff from Heeia Kea Pier miles further down the road, but that would have added costs in time and money.