HONOLULU — As a result of a $24.5 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant, work began on Honolulu Harbor’s Pier 29 Container Yard as federal, state, local, and other officials broke ground on the reconstruction project.

The Pier 29 cargo yard suffered failures and was rendered unusable in 2008. The new pier will increase harbor efficiency and safety by improving 12 acres of existing port yard area to support cargo operations that are vital to Hawaii’s water-dependent economy. It is due to reopen in December 2011.

Construction will include new pavement, drainage, water, lighting, sewer, fire protection, and electrical systems. Ultimately, Pier 29 will shift truck traffic away from highly congested areas to further improve freight efficiencies and air quality.

The $24.5 million grant is from the U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program, part of the Recovery Act, designed to promote innovative, multi-modal, and multi-jurisdictional transportation projects that provide significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, region, or the nation.

The department announced the selection of $1.5 billion worth of TIGER grants for 51 projects as part of a one-year anniversary of the Recovery Act on Feb. 17, 2010.