Giant sandbags are the latest effort to stop erosion in Waikiki
After three weeks of construction, the latest effort to stop erosion in Waikiki is complete. It's also the first Waikiki beach improvement project since 1972. The last time was Fort DeRussy beach barrier upgrade.
The Waikiki Beach Special Improvement District says Kuhio Beach is also worth a lot of money.
"The beach generated $2 billion worth of revenue for the state each year," Rick Egged, president, Waikiki Beach Special Improvement District Association, said.
The state says keeping the shoreline pretty is a long-term project because of changes in mother nature.
"We'll just have to keep doing this continuously to keep up with the rate of sand loss and combat sea level rise," Sam Lemmo, DLNR Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands administrator, said.
The first repair to stabilize the beach: a 95 foot-long barrier with sandbags filled with 1,000 cubic yards of sand. Researchers say there are still questions about sand erosion. A team from the University of Hawaii will monitor the beach weekly, hoping to find out how much sand is lost.
"We're able to monitor where the sand is going over a seasonal basis. That'll help with informed decision making on how the monitoring and management of groin. Is it working? Is it effective?" Dolan Eversole, Waikiki Beach Management Coordinator for the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program, said.
The next Waikiki Improvement Project is over at the Royal Hawaiian shoreline. There's currently a concrete wall in place but starting in March, crews will work on installing a sloping rock structure. That's expected to be completed by the start of summer.
That $2 million repair and replacement process could help maintain the beach as it serves as a defense structure in case of a storm wave attack.
"We can build structures that are efficient and effective that maintaining sand when we place it in there then we won't have to keep putting sand on the beach as often," Eversole said.
The State Department of Land and Natural Resources says other beach stabilization plans include bringing more sand off-shore back onto the beach.