Hawaii recovers 2 years after tsunami

Published On: Mar 11 2013 11:13:00 PM HST

While the state of Hawaii didn't suffer nearly as much as Japan, the tsunami damaged significant parts of the state, especially boat harbors across the islands.

Two years after the March 11, 2011 tsunami, there are some places that have transformed, while others remain the same.

Hours after the tsunami struck the coast of Japan, the quick rise in water level across the islands moved hundreds of boats back and forth and ripped them off its moorings.

"My finger pier was totally gone," said Michael Bryan. 

The Keehi Marine Center, lost more than 140 slips.

Nearby, the Keehi Small Boat Harbor, the state's second largest facility, lost 40 slips. 

More than 25 vessels sunk to the point of no return, as the tsunami caused more than $2 million in damage in the harbor. 

"All docks had to be removed and we rebuilt pile caps," said Department of Land and Natural Resources Director William Aila.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources received nearly $1.5 million in federal aid, while the state paid approximately 25% of the cost to fix the harbor.

"About 95 percent of reconstruction of the 800, 900, and 1000 piers have been completed already.  We're finishing up the electrical or water lines to those areas now," said Aila.

But many boaters aren't happy about the amount of time it's taken to fix the piers.

"Hopefully they'll get to these two piers that were damaged during the tsunami.  They haven't touched them since then.  Hopefully, they'll try to get these up like the other ones," said Bryan.

While some harbors have been transformed, other landmarks like the Kona seawall remain unrepaired because of permitting issues.

There's also the problem of dealing with tsunami debris that continues to wash ashore the vast coastlines.

"Our concern is about the large items floating around, items come ashore with unknown contents," said Aila.

DLNR says none of the confirmed pieces of tsunami debris have tested above the normal levels for radiation.

As for the new boat docks, they're expected to last 45-to-65 years.


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