Arizona Memorial access to be restored ‘by fall,’ officials say
The National Park Service said Thursday it has awarded a $2.1 million contract for repairs to a faulty USS Arizona Memorial dock that should be completed “by fall” — in time for the next Dec. 7, 1941, remembrance.
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The National Park Service said Thursday it has awarded a $2.1 million
contract for repairs to a faulty USS Arizona Memorial dock that should be completed “by fall” — in time
for the next Dec. 7, 1941,
However, that means there will be no walk-on visitations in time for the busy summer season.
Several deadlines to reopen the memorial have come and gone since access to the battlefield shrine and grave was halted in May. The memorial is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state, recording nearly 1.8 million visitors in 2018.
“We are excited to see this critical project enter its final phase,” Jacqueline Ashwell, superintendent of the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, which oversees the Arizona Memorial, said in a release.
Ashwell said a project of this complexity “would normally take three to four years to plan and complete, but we’ve been able to get to this point in the project in less than a year” because of the efforts of the National Park Service, Navy, Air Force and several contractors, she said.
Access to the memorial was suspended in May when park staff noticed minor damage to the exterior
concrete on the Arizona
Memorial. After initial repairs were made, the damage reappeared.
Closer inspection of the memorial dock revealed that
the root cause was the failure
of the dock’s anchoring system, which allowed too much lateral movement by the 105-floating concrete structure where passengers disembarked from Navy boats.
A series of now-missed
reopening dates was given by the park service, including: unlikely before Oct. 1, before
Dec. 7 and, most recently, the end of March.
Andrew Munoz, a spokesman for the park service’s Pacific West Region in San Francisco, previously said the dates provided were not knowingly false and “were the best estimates given the information that we had at the time.”
He admitted the projections were “overly optimistic” for the repairs, which will entail the use of heavy helical screws on poles to anchor into the seafloor.
At a confirmation hearing Thursday, U.S. Sen. Mazie K.
Hirono secured a commitment from David Bernhardt, President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Interior Department, to provide monthly updates on the status of dock repairs.
Hirono told Bernhardt that “you can imagine the millions of people who are very disappointed” that they can’t step foot on the distinctive memorial positioned astride the sunken battleship. Hawaii’s congressional delegation had expressed frustration over the delays.
“I’d like to get your support for working with our delegation to give us monthly updates on what’s going on and why we keep having to defer when the dock is going to be reopened,” she told Bernhardt.
Bernhardt responded, “Let me tell you a personal fact: My great-uncle went down on the USS Arizona. So I can assure you there is no one in the Department of Interior that’s more interested in having that problem addressed than I am. We will
absolutely get you a monthly
Jay Blount, chief of interpretation for the site, said there are still “many things visitors can experience when they come to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center,” including a 25-minute documentary, participating in a narrated harbor tour and exploring partner museums.