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The project to widen Waikiki Beach has reached a few bumps in its path, both figuratively and literally. Over the past several weeks, a state-contracted company has been pumping sand from outer ocean areas to a dewatering basin that’s nearest to the Honolulu Zoo.
A postcard moment of Waikiki Beach with something bumpy in the background.
Below are the, believe it or not, 30-foot high mounds and barricaded areas on the beach resulting from such operations, which may be around for much longer than anticipated. The initial intent to blow the sand through a pipeline and to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel (800 yards west) has since been sifted from the plan because the pipe lacked enough power.
Now, the sand will be relocated by truck, which means limited access to the beach and the ocean. Starting March 14, sections of Waikiki Beach will close daily at 7 a.m. and reopen at noon. Beachgoers may still get to the water via the barricaded pathways. Once moved, the sand will be used to widen the beach as much as 37 feet. The truck operation may last until the end of April, but a press conference later today will reveal more details by the state.
(Top) The sand comes from hundreds of yards outside of Waikiki surf breaks. (Bottom) Looks like a lunar landing site in Waikiki!
Ways to still enjoy your Hawaii vacation
Nobody wants to sunbathe or swim near a work area, especially if that involves massive trucks rolling by and increased noise pollution. So if you’re planning to visit Oahu during these scheduled beach closures, then I’d suggest you check out some of the nearby beaches instead. Diamond Head Beach, Kaimana Beach (near the Natatorium) and the stretch of beach fronting Ft. DeRussy would be good places to start. Parking is somewhat limited in those areas, which means you might have a ways to walk if you park in the metered-parking lots by the zoo and Kapiolani Park.
On a brighter note, this temporary inconvenience may be a good reason to venture outside of Waikiki. Discover a hidden gem in the back of Manoa Valley, better known as the Lyon Arboretum, or explore the cultural side of Honolulu in the depths of Chinatown. Both can be easily reached by way of bus. If you have a rental car, then consider making a drive out to the North Shore, where there’s an endless amount of things to do and to eat, or you could take in the sun and sand of Kailua Beach. Hopefully the recent happenings in Waikiki won’t deter you from having a good time in the islands.
Photo Credit: Noa Myers