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Wharf Water Line Permits OK’d

In order to meet fire safety requirements, the state is on the move to build a new 12-inch water line and six-inch sewer line along Kaunakakai Place. Last week, the Molokai Planning Commission (MoPC) approved a Special Management Area (SMA) permit, moving the project forward.

The state is currently waiting on permits from the Department of Health (DOH) for the project, which could be received by the end of the summer. At that point, bids will be accepted for the construction of the new lines, according to Molokai Planner Nancy McPherson.

The Big Picture

The new water line will be installed in an approximately two-foot by five-foot deep trench, starting at Kamehameha Hwy, and finishing at the beginning of the wharf causeway. The sewer line will begin at Beach Place, and would also end at the start of the wharf road.

Molokai Planner Nancy McPherson assured that an archeological monitor would be present during any ground disturbances.

In addition to meeting fire safety requirements, the development is the beginning of a bigger project to be completed by Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) for improvements to the Kaunakakai Harbor and its ferry facilities. They project is expected to begin in August 2011.

The project calls for changing the existing ferry shelter into restroom facilities and building a new ferry shelter.  A larger docking area will also be constructed, in order to provide a safer distance between Sea Link’s Molokai Princess ferry and Young Brothers’ barge while both are docked.

Depending on how many bids from contractors are received, construction for the water and sewer lines could begin in fall 2011, in order not to interrupt the canoe season which ends in late fall.

“I’m encouraging them to start by the end of the year,” McPherson said.

She added that the new water and sewer lines will benefit the public and businesses along Kaunakakai Place – such as Makoa Trucking, the proposed veterans’ center, and residences along Beach Place. The project is projected to cost nearly $800,000 and will take around three months to complete, she said.

Money Well-Spent

The cost of the overall project, including changes to the wharf, will be $5 million. Most of that will be provided by the Federal Transit Administration, while the remaining sum will come from state taxes, according to the project’s final environmental assessment.

“I feel like it’s a good project,” said local resident, Ella Alcon. “I’d like to give my total support.”

The DLNR has been pushing for the project since 2004, when they applied for federal funds.

“The existing commuter ferry operations from Molokai to Maui are vital to the economic base and social well-being of the County of Maui,” states the final environmental assessment for the Kaunakakai Harbor Ferry System Improvements.

Praise for the Project

MoPC commissioner Lori Buchanan offered support for the project.

“I wanted to thank the department [DLNR] for being open to the community’s feedback,” she said.  “You guys actually moved to make the project more applicable to the community, because there were many concerns.”

Carty Chang of DLNR Engineering Division said he is looking forward to beginning the project.

“This project represents an opportunity to utilize federal funds, as well as create jobs for the Molokai community,” Chang said.

Zeke Kalua, executive assistant to Mayor Alan Arakawa, also attended the MoPC meeting to give full support of the project.

“You can see the proposal from DLNR and they want to meet the needs of the community as much as possible in pretty much the most sensitive island of Hawaii,” Kalua said.


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