Rail project officials meet with Kakaako residents about pre-construction noise

Published: Jul. 7, 2011 at 2:01 AM HST|Updated: Jul. 7, 2011 at 2:53 AM HST
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Rail Transit spokesman Bill Brennan
Rail Transit spokesman Bill Brennan

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Construction on the final phase of Honolulu Rail Transit between Downtown and Ala Moana won't even begin until 2014. But before then, the city wants to find out if there's anything of archaeological significance along the route, and it wants to have crews do some of that work at night and on weekends.

The project has applied for a noise variance permit, which would allow that to happen.

"The idea to do it at night is to make is less disruptive for community residents, for the commuting public, and for the business community as well," said Rail Transit spokesman Bill Brennan.

The work will be similar to what's already been done in the first phase of the project in Waipahu. Workers will dig trenches in the roadway to determine whether there are any bones -- or 'iwi -- that could potentially be disturbed along the route.

"We are trying to be sensitive to archaeological and cultural materials that may be impacted by the construction work going on," Brennan said. "So this is pre-construction work that we're doing."

But the work could also bring noise, so rail transit officials met Wednesday night with Kakaako residents to talk about it and answer questions.

"When they get down to my area, I will probably want more information because I do live right on Queen Street," said resident Carol Kellogg.

The rail project is doing its archaeological inventory work far in advance of actual construction, largely because bones or 'iwi have been found in several other nearby areas, like at the site for Kawaiahao Church's multi-purpose center.

"It's important for the people for the stakeholders, for the other people for whom that is an issue, that we do this work thoroughly and appropriately and sensitively," Brennan said.

But many residents are just bracing for the work.

"I have survived the Ala Moana sewer connection and the Ward Theater pounding," Kellogg said. "So I just wanted to know how much more I have to survive."

The rail transit project will hold another meeting Thursday night for a similar noise variance permit for the route from Middle Street to Chinatown. That meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at Honolulu Community College, Building 2, Room 201.

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