HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Starting Monday the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (Hart) will start the most dramatic piece of construction along the 20 mile rail route and with it there will be considerable traffic impacts.
Crews will start the balanced cantilever work from the center pillars and balance 16 foot sections until it connects to both sides of the freeway. It's no small task that will take a year and a half.
The $5.26 billion rail project hopes to relieve traffic once it's finished in 2019, but in the meantime it's expected to cause more backups while it being built.
"The project is going to be one step backward for many steps forward and that one step backward for right now is that we are going to impact on traffic," said Dan Grabauskas, Hart CEO.
The rail will start work on the balanced cantilever section on Monday connecting the elevated concrete track over the busy H1 Freeway between Waipahu and Pearl City. It's right next to Leeward Community College and near the H1/H2 merge.
The freeway is five lanes in both directions. Hart will close up to four lanes at a time every Sunday through Thursday from 8:00 pm to 4:00 am. Most of the time two lanes in both directions will be shut down, but there could be times when up to three lanes in one direction could be closed.
There is also State work closing a westbound lane on the Pearl City viaduct until May along with ongoing rail work on Kamehameha and Farrington Highways as well.
"Chances are along the 20 miles for the next couple years you are going to be impacted by construction activities," said Grabauskas.
There is concern over more accidents with drivers looking up at the work instead of the road. So Hart adopted a new motto.
"Look ahead, not look overhead," said Grabauskas. "You just know that whenever there is a distraction of any kind, distractions can cause accidents and we're to let folks know please be mindful for the next year working through this area."
There will be netting underneath workers, to prevent tools or material from accidentally falling onto cars below. Smart considering the traffic alone will cause enough headaches.