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Kahului Harbor undergoes $5 million spring cleaning

Seawater gushes from a clamshell dredger Thursday afternoon as a load of sediment scooped from the bottom of Kahului Harbor is transferred to a barge.

Posted on March 20, 2024

A dredging crew contracted by the United States Army Corps of Engineers is expected to remove about 130,000 cubic yards of sediment from Kahului Harbor as part of a $5 million project that is currently underway.

The crew from Camenzind Dutra JV, LLC. is using a barge-mounted crane equipped with a clamshell dredger to scoop material from the harbor’s bottom and deposit it on a separate barge. It was working near Pier 2 this week. The large clamshell could be seen descending into the water with its jaws spread wide and then emerging seconds later, closed tight and gushing water as loads of sediment were swung over the transport barge and deposited.

The dredging project began earlier this month and is slated to be completed this spring. In an email response to questions from The Maui News this week, a spokesman for the USACE said it was routine maintenance to remove sediment that has accumulated over time.

“The harbor will be dredged to the authorized depth of 35 feet,” the email said. “Work will be performed along the outer federal limits of the harbor basin and entrance. Maintenance dredging is a responsibility of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure U.S. waterways remain safe and navigable.”

The dredged sediment is to be taken far offshore and dumped.

The dredging company’s barges, crane and support boats are dwarfed by the Pride of America cruise ship docked at Pier 1 Monday.

“Material will be disposed of at the EPA-approved Kahului ocean dredged material disposal site, located approximately five miles offshore, north of the harbor,” the email said. ” Work is being conducted in a manner to minimize impacts to normal harbor operations. The local sponsor is the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation Harbors Division.”

According to the DOT’s website, Kahului Harbor’s basin is 2,050 feet wide and 2,400 feet long. It has three piers, with Pier 1 designated for overseas containers and cruise ships, Pier 2 for interisland cargo and Pier 3 for liquid-bulk cargo and interisland cargo.

The USACE site says Kahului Harbor was first built in the early 1900s by the Kahului Railroad Company. It is Maui’s only deep draft harbor. The initial construction of Pier 1 was completed in 1924, while Pier 2 was finished in 1926. Both have been upgraded and lengthened through the years. Pier 3 was added in 1979. Pier 1 has a berth length of 1,658 feet, Pier 2 has 894 feet and Pier 3 has 500 feet.

The site says rehabilitation of the breakwaters was completed in 1969, 1973, and 1977. Major rehabilitation of the east and west breakwaters was completed in 1984. In October 2002, the 1,200 feet-long revetment attached to the root of the Kahului Harbor east breakwater structure was repaired.


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