The state is taking three aging wooden docks at Keehi Lagoon and making them into state-of-the-art piers that float, last longer and will be easier to maintain.
The new docks will be constructed out of plastic composite decking — 90 percent from recycled materials — anchored to concrete blocks with an elastic mooring system. The newly completed Pier 100 has a corrosion-resistant aluminum structure with connections to supply water, electricity and telecommunications to docked vessels.
"This is going to be the most high-tech pier in the state," said Eric Yuasa, who oversaw the project as head of the engineering branch of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Gov. Linda Lingle and two state legislators joined the department officials at Keehi Small Boat Harbor yesterday to dedicate the newly completed dock and break ground on two more as part of an eight-year effort to improve the public boating facility.
Lingle said the new docks should serve as an example for water recreation facilities across the state.
"I am pleased, but I am not satisfied," Lingle said. "There is no reason that when you’re a state surrounded by water … you should have anything but the best in your small boat harbors."
Rep. Joey Manahan (D, Kalihi-Kapalama) said he was also happy to see that repairs were finally under way.
"It has been neglected for so long," he said.
The newly upgraded pier is also the only one in Keehi Small Boat Harbor compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The construction project has restored 20 slips or berths at the completed Pier 100, and will bring an additional 76 slips back into service at Docks 600 and 900. The Department of Land and Natural Resources is also in the design phase to upgrade 32 new slips at Pier 300.
Once the completed pier is reopened to the public, the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation will fill the 20 new slips by bringing back boats that were docked at the pier before construction and drawing from a list of boaters that have expressed interest in the new facility.
"It’s been a long process," said Billy Andrade, a Keehi Boat Club board member who will be returning his boat to the dock. "We’re appreciative to have it."
Echoing boaters’ concerns that the state was neglecting harbor facilities , Lingle urged the Legislature to approve large-scale funding for additional land and water facility upgrades.
"We don’t want this incrementalism," she said.
Last year, the Legislature shot down the administration’s $240 million overhaul of the state’s land and water facilities. The Recreational Renaissance Plan would have provided funding for improvements at state parks, trails and water recreation facilities. The plan would also have funded improvements at small boat harbors across the state, using revenue from increased harbor fees to offset some of the costs.