Construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope has begun — technically.
According to the terms of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources’ conservation district use permit issued to the Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory in 2017, construction of TMT was required to begin within two years of the issuance of the permit.
Although a months-long protest in 2019 halted significant construction progress at the planned TMT site on Maunakea, the University of Hawaii notified the state Department of Land and Natural Resources last month that some degree of work on the project did begin in 2019.
In particular, the construction activities included “removal of unpermitted structures; onsite GPS verification of locations and coordinates; construction kick-off meeting with civil contractor and subcontractors to review procedures, safety protocols and other related items; locating and surveying onsite underground fiber optic and electrical lines; inspections of TIO construction equipment for invasive species; and the mobilization of 18 vehicles and equipment to the worksite,” according to a UH-Hilo statement.
Based on this statement, the DLNR agreed with UH that the requirement to begin construction within two years was satisfied.
No further construction activity on Maunakea has been announced by TMT.