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Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor set to open in July

Updated: 
June 23, 2014 - 8:37am

Kawaihae Harbor will have a new home for vessels by the end of next month.

That’s assuming all goes as planned as contractors finish up a new floating dock, trailer parking and wash down area at the Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor.

The 445-foot floating dock has space for 25 slips, said Kris Maile, assistant superintendent for Hawaii Dredging Construction Company. The $4.7 million project is designed to take the strain off of crowded facilities at the harbor.

“I think the boaters will be fairly impressed with it when it’s done,” Maile said of the floating dock and slips. “There’s been a long waiting period for these so they’ll be happy to get them.”

The shell of the restrooms building is complete, and such fixtures as partitions, sinks and toilets are due to arrive in the next few weeks. Aluminum ramps to access the dock are on-site and will be installed by the end of June, Maile said. An aerobic wastewater treatment system has been installed but not yet tested.

The harbor has a 40-by-60-foot concrete wash down area with two spigots. Gravel parking areas have room for 11 boat trailers and 15 vehicles, and a paved trailer parking area is ADA accessible. An additional open area could be developed for parking in a future phase, Maile said.

The project was originally slated for completion this month, but the contractor ended up doing extra work shoring up a rock embankment along the edge of the harbor.

Tina Davis, who works at Kohala Divers in Kawaihae, said the facility will be a welcomed addition to the harbor.

“It’ll be nice having the bathrooms,” she said. “It opens up another little refuge. It’s been so long. Getting any kind of mooring in Kawaihae has been years and years of waitlist.”

A planned boat ramp at the dock was delayed following the discovery of coral at the proposed site. William Aila, chairman of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said in April that much of the coral had died naturally from flood siltation and the few remaining pieces of live coral were moved by hand. The boat ramp is currently in the planning and design phase, according to DLNR spokeswoman Deborah Ward.