MAALAEA - State officials broke ground Friday on major upgrades to the Maalaea Small Boat Harbor.
Construction on the $16 million project is scheduled to start in January. Work will include a complete replacement of the existing Sea Flight building with a new ferry terminal, replacement of the deteriorating concrete wharf, and the installation of multiple sewage pump-out facilities around the harbor.
Department of Land and Natural Resources officials said the project was so extensive that inconvenience to harbor users would be unavoidable. But they said they would try to minimize the impacts by performing the upgrades in phases.
Dignitaries including Gov. Linda Lingle break ground Friday afternoon for a $16 million capital improvement project at the Maalaea Small Boat Harbor. The blessing was conducted by Kahu Kalani Wong of Kamehameha Schools Maui.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Outgoing Gov. Linda Lingle appeared at the groundbreaking Friday - her last full workday in office. Incoming Gov. Neil Abercrombie will be sworn in to office on Monday.
In a statement, Lingle said the harbor project represented part of her administration's commitment to upgrading the state's aging infrastructure.
"The improvements to the Maalaea Small Boat Harbor facility and many others around the state will ensure our residents and visitors can enjoy safe and easy access to the ocean," she said.
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said in a written statement that the project will provide "critical and much-needed infrastructure."
"Once completed, the improvements will provide for a more reliable, efficient and safer commuter ferry system between Maui and Lanai," he said.
The harbor upgrades will enable the Lanai ferry to dock at Maalaea. Currently, the ferry can meet passengers only at Lahaina.
The project is being jointly funded by the Federal Transit Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the state Legislature.
Construction work will include:
* Demolition of the current ferry terminal building and construction of a new terminal with a restroom and passenger waiting area on the ground floor and administrative offices on the second floor.
* Replacement of the north marginal wharf. The new pier will be fabricated on Oahu and delivered to Maalaea in sections that are ready to install, reducing down time.
* A new on-site wastewater treatment plant to replace the existing large-capacity cesspool. The upgrade will provide better treatment of sewage and reduce contamination in the waters surrounding the harbor.
* Installation of sewage pump-out facilities around the harbor to provide vessels with an alternative to dumping sewage at sea.
* Replacement of the existing asphalt roads and parking areas with concrete paving, which requires less maintenance and will last longer.
* Upgrades of electrical sewer and water utilities to comply with county and state requirements, and improvements to the water system to provide fire protection to vessels and buildings throughout the harbor.
The project was designed by Fukunaga and Associates. Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. received the construction contract.