HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - HART officials say the most dramatic and intensive portion of the first ten miles of their $5.2 billion dollar rail project -- the balanced cantilever overpass -- should connect over the H1/H2 merge in July.
It's a bit of an engineering marvel -- while suspended in air, crews tackle about 16 foot sections of guide way at a time -- each portion weighs roughly 210,000 pounds.
"You have this central pillar and then on top of that on each end you have what's called a traveler form. The name is what it does -- it travels and it forms. It's a sort of yellow, metal piece and rebar gets placed in the side and concrete is poured and when it cures or hardens, then that traveler travels out a little more and then we begin the process again," explained Dan Grabauskas, Hart CEO.
There are traveler forms stationed on the makai and mauka ends of the H1/H2 merge as well.
"They're creeping towards the center and the ones in the center are creeping towards the ends so you should see the whole freeway -- both H1 and H2 full-span -- all connected by the early part of next year," said Grabauskas.
Since the freeway remains open during construction, the top concern from both the crew and commuters is safety and HART officials say they've recently taken extra precautions.
"There have been some feeling that maybe some of the debris may be falling or loose material might be falling, so folks who travel daily will see we've just added some under-netting to catch anything that might fall," said Grabauskas.
HART officials say they also had workers foam grout all edges of the baskets they're working in to make sure nothing can roll and fall off -- but ultimately they say they need the public's help as well.
"It is a really exciting project and there's a lot of exciting stuff happening overhead, but we came up with a little bit of a catch phrase a few months ago which was, 'Please look ahead, not overhead' because we do want to make sure you don't end up in a fender
bender because you're looking up," Grabauskas said.
HART officials say another question they're asked regularly is how high the overpass will be when it's completed. Engineers say it will range from 28 o 38 feet, though it may look a little lower to folks right now because the traveler forms carriages are holding
up the segments that are still being worked on.