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Kahului Airport terminal expansion project under way

DOT submits SMA application for 27,300 square foot, 400 seat growth

WAILUKU — A $36 million Kahului Airport terminal improvement project that will enclose the open air southern concourse will add about 400 more seats for travelers at the second busiest airport in the state.

State Department of Transportation officials brought their plans to the county Urban Design Review Board on Tuesday, and have requested a Special Management Area Use Permit with the Maui Planning Commission.

“We want to give travelers that good first and last impression of the airport when they come to Maui, and currently, there is an insufficient seating capacity at hold rooms” on the southern terminal, said Malia Molina, analyst for the planning and project management company Munekiyo Hiraga.

During the meeting, she added that the restrooms for two holding rooms in the southern terminal and one in the northern terminal are “currently undersized for existing passenger volume.”

Bathroom use and passenger walkway traffic increases especially when arriving and departing flights overlap at the airport, with about 6.7 million passengers passing through in 2016.

“The proposed project will address the congestion at the facilities,” Molina said.

In designing the expansion, Gene Matsushige of the Airports Division said that the intent is to maintain the airport’s “unique design and experience,” and to not copy the design of the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu or Los Angeles International Airport.

The interior design is intended to match the existing mid-century design and color of the terminal. Designers are proposing to incorporate floral print patterns and wood finishes, island style furniture, and artwork by local artists to give the airport a “plantation look,” said Dayton Wong of Design Partners Inc.

The 27,374-square-foot expansion involves enclosing the open air concourse walkway bridge between two hold rooms containing Gates 1, 5 and 7 and Gates 9, 11, 13 and 15 on the southern concourse and infilling the area to create a new hold room.

An accessible outside garden waiting area on the service road side of the southern terminal will be added, said Mike Muromoto, architect with Design Partners. The garden will contain native plants and a 6-foot tall wall to buffer the views of the maintenance and bag area.

Weather permitting, the garden deck would serve as a “nice relief space for passengers,” and will include flight monitors and speakers for announcements, he said.

Proposed renovations to existing bathrooms at hold rooms in the southern terminal and one in the northern terminal at Gates 29, 31, and 33 include new flooring and exterior walls and roof, as well as new interior and concourse-facing walls. Additional toilets, urinals and sinks also would be added and double “the capacity of plumbing fixtures in the restrooms,” said Dayton.

A family bathroom would be added to a southern terminal hold room.

Bathrooms in the northern hold room, which were last renovated in 1990, will not have a new footprint but will be expanded in the existing concourse area.

The project also proposes to expand the taxi ramp 40 feet to the south to maximize the number of gates and aircrafts.

The estimated cost for the project is about $36 million, according to  Munekiyo Hiraga. Matsushige said the hope is to start construction in early 2020 for the expansion of hold-room restrooms and then mid-summer for the gate improvements. The first phase is expected to take a year to complete, while the second phase may take up to 30 months.

The planning commission will take up the airport special management area use permit on Dec. 10. The state Transportation Department also is seeking an environmental assessment exemption declaration.

For more information about the project’s details and planning, view Munekiyo Hiraga plans book at mauicounty. gov/DocumentCenter/View/119990/ 110519_C1_SM1-19-06_Kahului-Airport-Holdroom-Restroom-Reno-Expansion.

* Dakota Grossman can be reached at dgrossman@mauinews.com.