Kuhio Beach erosion fix coming

Published On: Dec 24 2013 06:39:47 AM HST   Updated On: Oct 17 2013 07:01:28 AM HST

Part of Kuhio Beach in Waikiki will be soon be closed to cover up a safety hazard.

The hazard is new, but it came from some very old structures which were recently exposed because of rapid erosion along the beach.

Click here to watch Paul Drewes' report.

A number of visitors posed along the Waikiki shoreline next to the crumbled walls and a concrete walkway unaware of any danger from the once-buried structures.

"It's a hazard here. People can trip over them and fall down. It is a safety hazard," said Eric Conley, the captain of the Mana Kai catamaran.

The exposed structures are also a hazard for beginner surfers nearby.
Waikiki beachboys said no one has run into the wall in the water yet, but there have been some close calls.

State experts have been unable to determine what caused the structures to be unearthed. They will need several more seasons to figure out if jetties removed last year have altered the erosion along the beach.

Some beach goers have their own theories as to the cause.

"There is no high surf that caused this, just erosion as the sand is sucked away. The super high tides and the super low tides -- that's causing all this erosion," said Conley.

After checking out the beach, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell didn't like what he saw.

"I think this wall that has been exposed acts as an incentive for greater erosion. You can see how the waves suck out more sand. We need to cover this up, or the sand is going to continue to be removed," said Caldwell.

Thursday night an emergency sand replenishment operation will begin at Kuhio Beach. City crews will take sand from other parts of the beach to bury the old walkway and walls.
That operation will just be a temporary fix.

"People are going to ask how long is the sand going to stay here, none of us knows for certain. Mother nature will affect it, global warming will affect it, currents will affect it as well, but we need to do something short term," said Caldwell.

The mayor not only wants state and federal agencies to help protect the historic and important beach, but also area businesses that benefit from Hawaii's tourism industry.

He would also like more preventative efforts before beach erosion becomes such a big problem.

"Erosion is nothing new, we continue to have it. We should have a program that is always on-going so we don't have a problem like this," stated Caldwell.

The area to the left of Duke's statue at Kuhio Beach will be closed between 10 p.m. and midnight on Tuesday, so crews can move the sand. Why will the work take place so late? That is when a very low tide will take place, so crews will be able to get further out into the ocean to spread the sand over the old structures.

On Thursday, Kalakaua Avenue will be completely closed for about 20 minutes sometime between 11 a.m. and noon. to move heavy equipment.  The makai lane of Kalakaua Avenue will be closed at 7:30 pm. Thursday through 3:30 a.m. Friday.

At around 10 p.m. through midnight on Thursday, sand will be moved to Kuhio Beach as a temporary fix.


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