TMT work to begin Monday

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige and the Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory (TIO) today announced that construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will begin the week of July 15.

The State Department of Transportation announced that Mauna Kea Access Road will be closed and there could be lane and other road closures associated with large equipment movement beginning Monday. In addition, hunting units A, K, and G in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve area will be temporarily closed to hunting effective Monday. Both measures are being taken to ensure the safety and security of the public and personnel involved in moving equipment for the TMT project up the Mauna Kea Access Road.

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“We have followed a 10-year process to get this point, and the day for construction to begin has arrived,” Ige said in a statement issued Wednesday. “At this time our number one priority is everyone’s safety. As construction begins, I continue to be committed to engaging with people holding all perspectives on this issue and to making meaningful changes that further contribute to the co-existence of culture and science on Mauna Kea.”

TMT will be constructed on UH-managed lands on Maunakea located in the conservation district regulated by the Board of Land and Natural Resources.

On June 19, 2019, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, DLNR, issued a notice to proceed to the University of Hawaii at Hilo for the TMT project. The permit was issued after DLNR confirmed the completion of the pre-construction conditions and mitigation measures required of the project in the Conservation District Use Permit.

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“After being given all the necessary clearances by the State of Hawaii and respectfully reaching out to the community, we are ready to begin work on this important and historic project,” said Henry Yang, Ph.D., chair, of the TIO Board of Governors. “We have learned much over the last 10-plus years on the unique importance of Maunakea to all, and we remain committed to being good stewards on the mountain and inclusive of the Hawaiian community.

“We acknowledge those who disagree with our project and express our respect for their views. Lastly, we are grateful for our many friends and supporters in the community during this journey. We also thank our project partners for their steadfast commitment to build the Thirty Meter Telescope in Hawai’i.”

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