The iconic Waikiki Beach, Hawaii’s most famous attraction, is slowly disappearing. So, thankfully, the State of Hawaii approves funding to save Waikiki Beach. However, that means disruptions to beachgoers on the horizon.
If you didn’t already know, Waikiki Beach is a manmade beach. The fact that it isn’t a naturally occurring beach means a lot of intervention is necessary to keep the beach from eroding away. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this photo of Waikiki from 1920.
But, the barriers meant to keep the destructive forces of the ocean at bay are themselves falling victim. And, as a result, Waikiki Beach is itself washing away too.
Recognizing the economic importance of Waikiki Beach (duh), the State of Hawaii recently approved $13 million in funding to make immediate fixes and to study future mitigation work. The immediate fixes include repairing the concrete groin fronting the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and returning a groin to Kuhio Beach.
Kuhio Beach, if you’re wondering, is the eastern portion of Waikiki Beach, running from the Duke Kahanamoku statue to around the zoo.
Impacts to Visitors
The first phase of the rehabilitation project begins late summer to early falls 2019. During this time, a 95-foot wall made of 2.5-ton sandbags will be installed by the Kuhio Beach groin. This area is an erosion hotspot thanks to the popular groin, which is why it’s first on the list.
Phase two begins sometime during Q1 2020. During this phase, construction takes place near the Royal Hawaiian Hotel to build a new T-head rock-wall groin. The wall should help to protect the area again summer swells and some of the effects of sea-level rise.
The third phase of the project is slated to begin sometime within the next two years. During this phase, an environmental impact study will take place identifying four or so projects for three high-priority areas. Those areas include Kuhio Beach once again, the beach fronting the Royal Hawaiian again, and the beach fronting the Halekulani Hotel.
State of Hawaii Approves Funding to Save Waikiki Beach, Final Thoughts
I’m happy to see something finally being done to address the erosion issues at Waikiki Beach. Parts of the beach disappear almost completely, making valuable real estate even more scarce. I just can’t believe (well, I can) it took nearly two decades for a project to finally get off the ground.
To those of you that dismiss Waikiki as being too crowded and too city, I’ll say this. Yes, Waikiki and Honolulu as a whole is a major U.S. city. But, with the bevy of new shops and restaurants opening in the area the past few years, even locals that used to stay away from the area are returning. Saying you won’t visit Waikiki just because it’s a city robs you of some great experiences you won’t have anywhere else in Hawaii. In fact, I think the biggest mistake most visitors make when visiting Oahu is not leaving Waikiki to explore and eat. But, hey, don’t take my word for it.