A consortium hoping to build a new optical telescope on Mauna Kea's summit tentatively plans to break ground in October.
Thirty Meter Telescope spokeswoman Sandra Dawson told a panel discussion in Hilo that major construction could begin next spring. The Hawaii Tribune Herald reports this would put the telescope on course to begin operations in 2022.
Whether it may break ground in October will depend on the outcome of Board of Land and Natural Resources hearings. The hearings will be about the sublease the University of Hawaii wants to award for the land the telescope would be built on.
Telescope opponents have questioned whether appraisals of the land were done appropriately and whether Native Hawaiians were properly consulted.
The hearings could take as long as a year.