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Monday, February 12, 2001

It's about time
Photographs often are the best way to show dramatic changes in Hawaii, providing an easy update on landmarks, persons and events. At other times, however, photos showing minimal changes during the years remind us that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Look for examples of big and little changes every Monday in "It's about time," which will inform, update and prod a few memories.

By John Titchen, Star-Bulletin, 1967
It's been gone for years, but there used to be a boat house, bottom
right, where people could rent boats and navigate the canal. The tree-
lined makai banks were relatively bare until the mid-60s. In 1967,
city workers began digging to add 50 more coconut trees.

Clearer, cleaner
Ala Wai in the works

The long-awaited Ala Wai Canal dredging could begin as early as this summer if the Board of Land and Natural Resources approves a contract bid Friday.

American Marine Corporation had submitted a bid to complete the project for $7.44 million, well under the state's $10.35 million budget, but delays caused by a bid protest could mean the bid will need to be revised, according to Andrew Monden, the Land Division's chief engineer. "We still have to negotiate with the contractor due to the delay of the award of the contract," he said. "It's still going to take a couple months to put everything together yet."

The savings of almost $3 million results from being able to dispose of most of the dredged material in the ocean, rather than using land disposal as in original projections. Monden said the savings would be restored to the state's general fund.

A site about 3 miles south of the airport reef runway has been designated for ocean disposal of all but 2 percent of the dredged sediment.

The remainder, contaminated by chemical and organic materials, would be used as structural fill for the runway.

Dredging was to begin last fall, but a protest submitted June 30 by RCI Environmental Inc. delayed the process.

The complaint was that American Marine's bid was nonresponsive in that it did not name a subcontractor for the installation of the liner that would prevent contaminated material from leaching into the ocean.

The protest was dismissed by the Administration Hearings officer on Jan. 2.

American Marine declined comment on the status of its bid.

By Ronen Zilberman, Star-Bulletin
The Ala Wai Canal was meant to be a mere drainage canal, but the
waterway that helped build and define Waikiki is a place to fish, crab
and kayak (albeit not swim in); a picturesque route for people to walk,
jog and bike along; and a continual target of contemplated development.
The people at right were part of a crowd that gathered for
the Ala Wai Challenge this January.

Work on the canal began in 1921 as the Waikiki reclamation project,
with Hawaiian Dredging Company contracted for the first phase. In
the undated photo above, remnants of the duck ponds and marshes
that once characterized the area are still evident along the shores of
the new canal, dubbed "Alawai" (waterway) by the
city Board of Supervisors in 1925.

Star-Bulletin 1948
In 1948, the Ala Wai Navy Officers' Club sat on the mauka banks.

By Warren Roll, Star-Bulletin, 1969
Over the years, there has been talk about extending the canal to
connect with Waikiki Beach at Diamond Head, installing apartment
buildings spanning the canal, and building a bridge connecting
University Avenue to Waikiki. In 1969, there was a proposal to
extend Ala Wai Boulevard with Ala Moana at the newly widened
bridge (circled). Today, long-delayed plans to dredge the Ala Wai
are said to be on track. It will be the first complete dredging since
the canal was built eight decades ago.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
The canal as it looks today from the Ala Wai Manor at
620 McCully. The canal's last partial dredging? 1978.

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