- Associated Press - Thursday, October 13, 2016

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - The Hawaii Department of Transportation is moving forward with plans to tear down a 95-year-old condemned pier in Hana, Maui, that residents say is a recreational hot spot, but that the department views as a safety hazard.

Last week, the department’s Harbors Division released a notice of its plan to begin an environmental impact statement on the pier’s removal, The Maui News (http://bit.ly/2dno5yL) reported Thursday.

“Hana will be changed without the pier,” Council Member Bob Carroll, who holds the East Maui residency seat, said Wednesday. “However, we do honor the community (desire to not build a new pier).”

The department nixed plans to repair the pier in January, after strong opposition from residents who worried that a new pier would bring commercial activity to the small town.

The aging pier was built in 1921 by the Territory of Hawaii. Supported by concrete posts, the main section is about 339 feet long and 44 feet wide and runs parallel to shore, according to the department.

Supported by concrete posts, the main section is about 339 feet long and 44 feet wide and runs parallel to shore, according to the department. An access trestle, about 138 feet long and 24 feet wide, connects the pier to shore. During the 1920s, transport ships hauling sugar primarily used the pier, along with passenger and cargo vessels. However, after Hana Highway opened in 1926 and people began transporting small cargo by land, the pier was used mainly for bulk good shipments.

In the mid-1940s, bulk shipments declined along with sugar production in Hana, and in the late 1950s the pier was mostly used for importing fuel products.

In January, Puni Chee, the department’s project manager for harbors modernization, said that, to his knowledge, the department didn’t have any statistics on accidents or injuries at the pier.

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Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com

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