HART aims to open first leg of rail soon, but concerns remain over cracks in column

HART CEO Lori Kahikina discusses the start of the major utility relocation project in Kalihi and its impact on businesses and residents in the area.
Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 1:03 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Officials are trying to open the first leg of Honolulu’s long-delayed rail project in the coming months. But there’s still concern over the concrete that supports the line.

A crucial piece of that is making sure the issue of the cracks on the hammerhead structures are resolved.

On Thursday morning, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation provided an update on the possible solutions to remedy the cracks in the hammerhead columns.

“The engineering reports have not yet been finalized. However, we have had productive discussions with both firms,” said Lori Kahikina, executive director and CEO of HART.

“It was shared with us that the designed strength of the hammerhead structures is acceptable, based on the expected live loads that the structures will carry once the rail system is open. The preventative action to be taken — a form of retrofit — has not yet been determined.”

Meanwhile, project officials completed a large-scale emergency response exercise last Saturday to help first responders practice for a derailment event.

The scenario: A train heading westbound with 50 passengers on board leaves the tracks causing two mock fatalities and multiple injuries.

Kahikina said she was impressed with the way different agencies worked together in their response.

“It made me proud to be a city employee watching HFD, HPD and EMS all work together to care for the passengers,” said Kahikina.

HART’s leader said their is always room for improvement.

“There are always some lessons learned. There was a bit of a communication snafu in the beginning when 911 was called — where to send the first responders out to get to the accident. But other than that, it went pretty smoothly,” added Kahikina.

You can keep up with the latest news from HART at honolulutransit.org.