Sustainable Technology

“There’s absolutely no impact anywhere to the reef,” contractor Gregg Morton assured island residents, regarding the underwater drilling Environmental Crossings, Inc. is supposed to start in a few weeks.

Company will bring high-speed broadband telecommunications to Molokai with minimal damage to environment.

By Léo Azambuja

All Hawaiian homesteaders will soon be able to benefit from modern, high-speed broadband telecommunications. Sandwich Isles Telecommunications (SIC) will be laying underwater fiber optic cables linking all major Hawaiian Islands as soon as six months from now.

In a meeting last Wednesday at the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) conference room, Healii Kihune disclosed to island residents the key points of the upcoming project. Kihune works as a project manager for Clearcom, Inc., the company that will oversee the construction of the fiber optic network.

The network cable will connect with Molokai at DHHL lands adjacent to Ali`i fishpond. The cable will be coming from a site at Sandy Beach, Oahu. Contracting company Henkels and McCoy will be in charge of the marine landing site operations, and the construction of the statewide underwater network.

One of the main concerns residents raised about the project was the potential damage to reef and marine life that the marine landing site could cause. Henkels & McCoy contracted one of the leading companies in the world specialized in burrowing cables under reefs, Environmental Crossings, Inc. (ECI).

Contractor Gregg Morton said ECI is one of the few companies in the world that do this type of work, besides being one of the best. Morton said he works all over the world overseeing the company’s operations.

The burrowing will not damage the reef, according to Morton. The burrowing will start before the reef, on dry land, and will go underneath it, popping at 4,600 feet into the ocean, in 60-feet-deep water, in an area that is covered with soft sand. An eight-inch-wide metal pipe will follow the bore, and will be later used to accommodate the fiber optic cables.

The cable was originally to go under Ali`i fishpond. But after consulting with Ka Honua Momona, a not-for-profit organization that cares for the pond, Morton said ECI decided to reroute the drilling to make sure it would not adversely impact the delicate ecosystem.

Consulting firm Kuiwalo, LLC will be on site, providing archaeological monitoring. Kihune said Clearcom has prepared an Environmental Assessment and an Environmental Impact Statement, which is available to anyone interested.

The undersea fiber optic cable will link Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui and Big Island. The Molokai portion of the project is scheduled to start Jan. 2, 2008. Drilling under the reef should last 16-20 days, according to Henkels &McCoy construction manager Joel Venegas.

A 3.98-mile fiber route between Ali`i fishpond and Kalamaula is supposed to start on Jan.14 2008, and last for approximately 5-6 months.

Residents with questions and concerns about the project are encouraged to call Kihune at (808) 760-5797, or email her at


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