HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The new year means a new phase of rail construction on Oahu.
After completing the first five miles of the 20-mile fixed guideway, construction of the elevated rail guideway is now entering the Pearl City area along Kamehameha Highway fronting the Pearl Highlands Shopping Center.
The concrete segments will be placed along existing columns along the 4-mile route to Aiea throughout the year.
Column work continues along the route in advance of the guideway segments.
Work continues in the Waipahu area this year as crews continue to set the guideway and columns along Farrington Highway towards Pearl City.
Crews are building the line from both the Ewa and Pearl City directions in hopes of completing the work this year. The new guideway work along Kamehameha Highway is the most visible of the new rail work this year.
So what else should residents expect to take place with rail construction and activities in 2016?
Rail officials said they are working to connect the guideway on both ends of the segment that stretches over the H-1 freeway near the H1-H2 merge to its respective Waipahu and Pearl City lines this year.
Additionally, work is expected to be completed on the 43-acre Rail Operations Center located near Leeward Community College, which is currently 90 percent complete.
Within the next few months, the first two rail cars will arrive in Honolulu from California and officials added that they also plan to break ground during this time on the first of the 21 rail stations, beginning with the Farrington Highway Station Group which includes the West Loch, Waipahu Transit Center, and Leeward Community College stations.
Officials said the second balanced cantilever construction will also get underway soon as crews start to build the line over the H-1 Freeway near the Sears Distribution Center.
And finally, new rail construction could begin in the Kalihi, Airport and Makalapa areas this year according to Honolulu City Councilman Joey Manahan, chairman of the Transportation Committee.
He said officials with the Honolulu Rail Transit Authority (HART) have indicated to him that they hope to start construction on the line along Dillingham Boulevard this year, possibly as early as June.
Manahan added that construction work in the airport and Makalapa areas is also on their radar to commence this year.
Manahan is asking HART officials to provide the Transportation Committee with the latest construction update in a meeting on January 15.