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It’s been on hold for about a year. Oahu’s multibillion-dollar rail project is back on track. Work started first thing Monday morning.
Currently, the column count in West Oahu stands at 16, with that to change considerably over the coming months.
“That first 10 miles is going to have about 422 columns. And that 10 miles will open again, probably 2017,” Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Executive Director and CEO Dan Grabauskas said.
The hundreds of columns will rise out of the ground about 20 to 25 feet.
“So the foundations in this particular area of this project are about 40 feet deep. So, it’s about twice as deep as the 23-feet-tall column that you see,” Granbauskas said.
Dignitaries were on hand for a blessing ceremony. Many couldn’t believe what they were seeing.
“So many people have worked very hard to make this happen. This has been a discussion in the neighborhood for over 30 years. And we’re just thankful that this day has come,” Honolulu City Councilmember Kymberly Pine said.
“I would like to say that I thought it would be done by now. The good news for me is the dream that many had, going back to Fasi days, is actually happening,” Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said.
Back to work means jobs for construction workers.
“I think this means a lot more people back to work, 500 initially, 1,500 when were fully ramped up. End of the day, we have a 20-mile system. People using it to commute to and from work,” Mayor Caldwell said.
A 10-mile portion of the rail system from Kapolei to near Aloha Stadium is expected to be open in about four years.
As for the remainder… “So, that will be, work will be done at the same time, and that will conclude in 2019. So the full 20 miles will be in full operation in 2019,” Grabauskas said.
There is still a lawsuit filed against the rail project in federal court.