Hawaii dedicates millions to improve marinas

HONOLULU – Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle has released nearly $4.45 million to fund improvements to several small-boat harbors in the state, which boaters hope will help ease a tight storage situation, the Honolulu Advertiser reported in a story yesterday.

About $4.05 million will be used to replace Piers 100 and 200 at Keehi on Oahu. More than a quarter of the existing 362 slips there have been deemed unusable due to extensive deterioration over the years, state officials told the newspaper.

The improvement project will make slips available that have been closed due to safety concerns, restore harbor activity and generate more venues for future maintenance. Design of the project is already under way. Construction is expected to begin in July 2008 and run through December 2009, the newspaper reported.

At Kawaihae, along the Big Island’s Kohala Coast, $400,000 will be used to replace existing loading docks that have deteriorated beyond repair. The new docks and connecting walkways will meet guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Construction is scheduled to begin in June and run through March 2009.

William Aila, harbormaster for the Waianae Small Boat Harbor, told the newspaper the improvements would help provide welcome relief to a long-suffering boating community, especially on Oahu.

“The problem is more acute on Oahu because of the deteriorating slips available at the Ala Wai,” Aila said. “Many of the boaters have had to shift to Keehi.”

The recent development of “F Dock” at the Ala Wai could accommodate as many as 40 to 50 boats. The improvements come on the heels of an announcement last week that both Lingle and legislative leaders have agreed to a six-year, $842 million plan to increase capacity and improve operations at state harbors, the Advertiser reported.

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