Construction to begin Monday on foundations of rail system

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation announced today that construction will begin on the first section of the elevated guideway for the rail transit system, signifying major progress for the project.

With all the necessary state and federal approvals needed to move forward in hand, HART gave contractor Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. the green light to begin drilling for the concrete foundation shafts and support columns.  The work will begin Monday in East Kapolei near Farrington Highway in the first section of the 20-mile route.

"This significant milestone for the rail project moves us closer to providing Oahu residents with an alternative to sitting in horrific traffic congestion," said Dan Grabauskas, HART's executive director and CEO. "We want to thank the Federal Transit Administration and state agencies that have worked closely with us on all of the necessary approvals. This is indeed a great day for Oahu."

This next stage of construction will provide the public with concrete assurances of the project's momentum, said HART Board of Directors Chairwoman Carrie Okinaga.

"We are really pleased that this day has come. Keeping the project on schedule is critical to keeping our costs within budget, so we welcome this news," Okinaga said.  "The HART Board of Directors remains strongly committed to ensuring the project stays on track and is completed on time and within budget."

Senator Daniel Inouye released this statement Friday afternoon, "I would like to thank Administrator Peter Rogoff and the Federal Transit Administration for approving the start of construction on this long awaited and much needed project.  I am very pleased that the city can begin building a system that will revolutionize the way residents of Oahu move about the island while diminishing our dependence on imported oil.  The start of construction also means work for hundreds of highly skilled laborers as they help move Oahu forward toward a day when residents will have options other than sitting in their cars and battling traffic."

The 20-mile rail transit system from East Kapolei to Ala Moana is expected to open in 2019.

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