The National Park Service (NPS) expects the USS Arizona Memorial dock repair project to be complete by March 2019, allowing visitor access to the memorial to resume.
The design phase of the project was recently completed, allowing for the development of a more precise timeline for the repair process. Unfortunately, it will not be completed in time for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on December 7. Since May, the NPS has worked with its partners in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force to ensure repairs are made as quickly as possible with special consideration given to the national significance of the site.
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“Not being able to welcome survivors and their families on the USS Arizona Memorial this coming December 7th is heartbreaking,” said Jacqueline Ashwell, superintendent of WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, who oversees the memorial. “After exploring multiple options, we are working with our friends in the U.S. Navy to hold an intimate ceremony aboard a vessel adjacent to the USS Arizona. The Navy has been our partner every step of the way, and I could not be more grateful for their support.”
The boat-based ceremony will include a floral tribute and will also allow survivors, their families, and other key dignitaries to pay their respects to the fallen at the USS Arizona. This special ceremony will be in addition to the full land-based commemoration ceremony at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.
Access to the USS Arizona Memorial was suspended on May 6 when minor damage to the exterior of the structure became visible at the main point of entry. A more thorough examination revealed that the damage was caused by a failure of the anchoring system for the boat dock adjacent to the USS Arizona Memorial. This placed extreme pressure on the loading bridge that provides overwater passage for visitors from the boat dock to the USS Arizona Memorial. Access was curtailed immediately to ensure visitor safety and prevent additional damage to the memorial.
Ashwell also stated, “We are committed to restoring access to the memorial as soon as possible for all visitors, and it will remain a top priority across the board for this site and the National Park Service. We have condensed this project to the shortest amount of time necessary while also implementing solutions that will ensure a similar problem does not occur again. We appreciate the public’s continued patience as we work to complete the process and reinstitute access to the USS Arizona Memorial.”
While the repair process continues, visitors will continue to see a 25-minute documentary film followed by a harbor tour of Battleship Row on U.S. Navy vessels which pass as close as possible to the USS Arizona Memorial. The NPS will continue to provide live or recorded commentary in an effort to maximize the visitor experience. Reservations are encouraged, as tickets for these programs continue to be fully distributed each day.
All other amenities at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center remain open and accessible. Visitors are encouraged to visit our two free museums, shore side exhibits, snack shop and bookstore. Our partners at the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, and Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum remain open and ready to welcome visitors.
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