HONOLULU (KHON2) — Plans to build a pedestrian bridge over the Ala Wai are moving forward.

The City was awarded $25 million in federal funding to help get the pedestrian crossing on the Ala Wai started. It is a bridge that is now estimated to cost more than $60 million. 

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The City’s Department of Transportation Services Director Roger Morton said the City began its work on the project about three years ago, but some members of the community have voiced their want to have a pathway connecting the mauka-makai communities on either side of the Ala Wai. 

Morton said, “Make it high enough so that there are no center piers; so, it won’t interfere with the recreational use of the canal primarily by the paddlers. And that means our deck is 14 feet high.”

The current design includes a 180-foot tower on the mauka side of the project stemming from University Avenue. 

The Waikiki Improvement Association President Rick Egged said they have been in support of the pedestrian bridge. 

Egged said, “Give Waikiki another major way to exit the area in case of a hurricane or tsunami or any other kind of natural disaster that would require evacuation.”

The Waikiki Neighborhood Board voted in favor of a resolution to build a path between Waikiki and McCully back in 2016. 

Egged said, “It has to go through a very long environmental assessment process. It’s dictated both by state law and federal law.”

Although there are those who oppose a bridge connecting both communities, Mōʻiliʻili resident Stan Rosen said he is concerned crime from Waikiki could trickle into his neighborhood. 

Rosen said, “I don’t think we want that coming into our neighborhood in an uncontrolled access.”

But the City told stakeholders now with the $25 million funding secured, the project is moving forward. 

Morton said they are counting on 80% of the cost to come from federal grants.

The City shared some highlights of the project.

  • The City continues to work with stakeholders in the environmental assessment and National Historic Preservation Act processes to create a final site plan and bridge design.
  • The deck of the bridge will be 14-feet above the level of the canal – well above water-borne recreational activity and a contemplated flood wall. On the Waikīkī side, there is a ramp between the proposed wall and the Ala Wai Boulevard sidewalk that will not interfere with a proposed flood mitigation wall.
  • The design of the bridge will not accommodate motorized transport such as cars or trucks, and only active transportation such as biking, walking or rolling will be allowed.
  • With a nearly 300-foot clear span, the concrete cable-stayed bridge will preserve sight lines for canoeing and other traditional practices and not interfere with the historic canal walls.
  • The bridge’s asymmetrical design in plan and elevation has elements intended to be an abstraction of local inspirations such as fishing nets, waterfalls, and traditional musical instruments.
  • The single-tower design helps to maintain views of the surrounding urban form and landscapes beyond.
  • The bridge project will result in enhanced safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness and opportunity, and local partnership and collaboration.

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  • Ala Pono is expected to facilitate reduced emissions by promoting a modal shift to active transportation, especially for local, neighborhood-adjacent trips.

The construction is now slated for 2025.