Honolulu rail could be up and running this year, but could still face significant delay

HART interim CEO Lori Kaihikina joined Grace Lee to share updates on the rail project.
Published: Jun. 14, 2021 at 9:57 AM HST|Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 11:17 AM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu’s rail project could be up and running this year, but there’s still a possibility it could face another significant delay.

Lori Kahikina, interim CEO and executive director of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, said Monday timing of when riders can actually use the system depends on how issues to faulty crossover tracks — known as frogs — as well as the wheels — which were too small for the width of the track — are addressed.

“For the most part, when you’re going straight, it works. It’s when you’re coming over those frogs, those crossovers, that’s the issue. And nobody noticed it until our consultant was watching during the study, during the testing, was like, oh it’s a little bit, it’s a half inch thinner than it should be,” Kahikina said.

She added, “If the speed through those tracks is an issue, the tracks will have to be removed and that’s gonna be a one-, two- year delay because you need to manufacture the tracks, bring it here, take out the old ones, put in the new ones and retest everything.”

[READ MORE: Cracks, other flaws in rail system’s tracks could cause further delays]

Kahikina said a third-party consultant has been hired to analyze the speed through the crossovers, and when the analysis comes back by August, the trial run needs to go for 90 days without any glitches, and depending on if that’s successful, it’s up to the Department of Transportation Services and Honolulu mayor to determine when to let the system open and let riders on board.

That would only be for the Kapolei to Aloha Stadium section of the route.

Kahikina also said there are no plans to stop the project at Middle Street — and work is ongoing to relocate the overhead utilities along the narrow Dillingham Boulevard corridor. The rail route has also been shifted mauka through that stretch of Kalihi.

If there aren’t any additional delays, the full 20-mile line could be up and running by 2031.

Copyright 2021 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.