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THE AIRPORT AND THE AE'O

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In 1977, Runway 8R/26L or the Reef Runway was constructed as the fourth runway for Honolulu International Airport.  It was built to handle the projected increase in passengers and to accommodate the physical requirements of the new jumbo jets.  The 12,000 feet runway added needed capacity to the Airport and cost $88 million to construct.  However, the new runway was found to destroy the bird habitats of the A’eo bird, an endangered species, and other water birds in the mudflats of Keehi Lagoon.  The U.S. Navy offered two areas in Pearl Harbor for the construction of wetlands to save the birds.  The Federal Aviation Administration helped with the cost of the mitigation which set a precedent for environmental mitigation in the United States.  Because of the joint efforts of the State DOT and DLNR, the FAA, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife the A’eo was saved and has continued to grow in population.  2007 marked the thirtieth anniversary of the Reef Runway whose construction won national engineering achievement awards.

 

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