Rail control center on track for completion by 2016

Rail control center on track for completion by 2016
Steel skeletons of three buildings are standing on a 43-acre site in Waipahu behind Leeward Community College -- the hub of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation's rail project.

"Everything leads back here. This is where the brains and the trains will ultimately be," HART executive director Dan Grabauskas said.

He said significant progress has been made in the last twelve months, since the project resumed construction after delays over legal challenges.

"If you had been here a year ago you would have seen a grassy hillside that was sloping from a hundred feet difference from this end of the property down to the other end of the property," Grabauskas said, standing on an overlook to the construction project.

The property was cleared of scrub brush and leveled.

"There was no additional material brought in here," Grabauskas said. "But 250,000 cubic yards of dirt was just moved around to flatten the site."

Kiewit is doing the work. A challenge was laying four miles of underground utility lines.

"There's a lot of switch gears. There's a lot of electrical conduit, a lot of communications conduit that's running all under this site, including your standard sewer, water, drainage," Kiewit's Lance Wilhelm said.

The largest building will be a 160,000 square foot structure that will house HART's control center. Concrete walls are being formed and will soon be put in place.

"They're actually tilt-up wall construction," Grabauskas said. "These walls will actually be raised by cranes, set up against the skeleton that you see here, fixed, and then that will form the walls."

The building will also be a train service center with two work bays. One will be for surface repairs.  The other will be open underneath so mechanics can get at the underside of the rail cars.

"It's actually going to be where the trains pull in. There will be a void underneath the train tracks where folks can work underneath the trains to actually do maintenance," Grabauskas said.

The control facility work is folded into a $200 million contract that also includes the supply of steel track for the entire 20-mile rail route.

EWA BEACH, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Copyright 2014

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