WAIKIKI, Hawaii (KHON2) — A plan to build a pedestrian crossing is still in the works and a final design has yet to be completed.
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Community members said they still have input to give on the appearance of the bridge.
Current project renderings of the Ala Pono Pedestrian Bridge call for a 180-foot — or 18-story — tower on the mauka side of the bridge. Laura Ruby of the community Group Ala Wai Neighbors wanted to know why it could not be a bit more modest.
“A modest bridge would not take away from Diamond Head, would not take away from the canal, the historic nature of everything that’s here,” Ruby said. “And that’s what we’d really like.”
The bicycling community said the structure is certainly large, but it wont be a complete disturbance to lines of sight.
“Thankfully this is a suspension bridge, so it’s, you know, thick cables. It’s not like a full blocking,” said Travis Counsell, Hawaii Bicycling League director. “It will be noticeable, but certainly not complete obstruction by any means.”
The Diamond Head Neighborhood Board chair said she has heard pushback from her community, especially with a name like Ala Pono.
“A lot of them don’t like it because it’s a ‘pono’ bridge, and that means ‘just’, you know, in Hawaiian and we don’t feel that that’s correct,” said Diamond Head Neighborhood Board chair Linda Wong.
The Honolulu Department of Transportation Services was awarded a $25 million grant in July, 2023 to help fund the cost of construction, the entire project is expected to cost $60 million.
Officials said 80% of those dollars will come from Federal Highways funds, but Wong pointed out the disaster on Maui is still fresh and so many are still struggling.
“There’s supposed to be 10,000, so I don’t think this takes precedence right now,” Wong said.
Both the Ala Wai Neighbors and the Hawaii Bicycling League said they are open to discuss a more modest bridge, Ruby even showed KHON2 some examples from other countries.
“And after all, we have Waikiki, which is a cash cow across the way, and we want poeple to feel very respectful of the natural beauty,” Ruby said.
“I’m all for a modest or an extravagant, more just that we’d like to see a bridge constructed,” Counsell said.
The Department of Transportation Services said through a statement:
“Final design has not been completed. The project is being delivered as a design / build where the final design and construction price are bid together to optimize the cost. The City appreciates stakeholders continuing the discussion around the project and welcomes innovation and alternative concepts during final design to build a bicycle and pedestrian crossing that meets the community’s needs.”Honolulu Department of Transportation Services
Construction is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2025.