Search for bones to affect traffic along rail route

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Lane closures and traffic delays are set to start soon along the city center section of the rail route and it's all in the name of finding iwi or bones.

While the delays in traffic may seem long it would be nothing compared to the delay caused if crews were to find bones during the construction process.  That's why the city is trying to get out in front of the search for bones.  They will be using ground penetrating radar and will be trenching in various areas looking for the archaeological finds before the tracks are actually built so they can move pillars or the route if needed.

The work will be done along more than 230 different spots over about a four and a half mile stretch. It starts at the Kalihi Palama bus center on Middle Street then makes its way down Dillingham Boulevard through Kalihi.  Then onto Iwilei, Chinatown, Downtown, Kakaako and ending at Ala Moana Shopping Center.

The work will be done morning, noon and night seven days a week between 8:30 am to 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm to 7:00 am.  The work will start any day and will continue through next summer.

"This survey work is part of the required process and will help minimize the impact on archaeological, historical and cultural sites. The work is being done well in advance of rail construction in the urban Honolulu area so that we will be able to make adjustments to the final design, if needed. We have been working closely with stakeholders to ensure that any archaeological finds and iwi kupuna are treated with care and sensitivity. We are also working with state and city traffic officials and with area residents and businesses to make sure the survey work is as least disruptive as possible," wrote Faith Miyamoto, HART Chief Planner, in a prepared statement.

The city sent various property owners flyers about the traffic notice.  They're also holding community meetings about the search.  The next one is Monday September 26 at the Farrington High School Cafeteria from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

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