TMT project moves forward as last sublease case dismissed

The Thirty Meter Telescope cleared its last major hurdle Friday.

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources dismissed the remaining contested case hearing requests for the $1.3 billion project’s sublease, allowing construction to begin on Mauna Kea.

“We’re happy this is moving along,” said Sandra Dawson, TMT spokeswoman.

Dawson recently told a group of education and business representatives that a groundbreaking could be as early as October if the requests were dismissed. She said a formal announcement about those details is planned Monday.

The project is expected to be finished in 2022. The TMT is named after its 30-meter-wide primary mirror, and would be bigger than any existing optical telescope.

An appeal was filed in the state Intermediate Court of Appeals regarding a decision in Hilo Circuit Court to uphold the project’s conservation use permit. Dawson said that appeal does not impact construction, and a hearing has not been scheduled.