State offers Aiea residents solution to noisy rail work

Some Aiea residents are complaining about incessant drilling and hammering into the wee hours of the morning, and it’s not the first time.

A viewer sent in video of the work via Report It that was taken from his lanai facing Kamehameha Highway, about a block away from Pearlridge Center.

On Tuesday night, Dustin Elisara was in his living room watching the news, until the noise outside got so loud, he couldn’t even hear his own television.

“They were right there, not too far from here,” he said. “Drilling into the pavement late at night and ended with loud hammering.”

Elisara said the noise lasted about four hours, until 2:30 in the morning.

“Were you able to sleep at all?” KHON2 asked.

“No. My daughter here was tossing and turning,” he said.

Other residents in the complex tell the same story: loud construction noises in the middle of the night.

About four months ago, other residents in the same complex complained of the same problem and sent in similar video.

At that time, officials with the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation confirmed the loud noises and bright lights were connected to Honolulu’s rail project. They said the work would only last a few weeks, and the noisiest part of the job was over.

When KHON2 checked with HART again Wednesday, officials confirmed this current project is again related to rail. Crews are cutting the pavement and moving a utility line.

After our inquiries, HART said it plans to send staff out to the site this week to monitor the noise levels.

But what if nothing changes? What can residents do about the loud noise and late hours?

So, armed with Elisara’s video, KHON2 went to the state Department of Health to talk to officials.

“Is that from their residence?” James Toma, state noise section supervisor, asked. “That’s pretty good.”

Toma says HART has a noise variance for the project, which allows them to do work during late night and early morning hours. But if people call him with complaints, he will investigate.

“What I do is I put myself in that position. If it’s something I know I can’t sleep at, I know they can’t sleep at, so then we would go ahead an look at restrictions,” Toma said.

Solutions could include forcing the contractor to do this type of work earlier in the evening.

“By looking at this video, does it look like it’s a little too loud for you at two in the morning?” KHON2 asked.

“Oh definitely,” Toma said.

“And just by looking at this video and listening to the sound over an iPhone, if that was where you were living, would you be upset?” KHON2 asked.

“Oh yes,” he said.

Toma encourages people to call the HART hotline first at 566-2299 if they have complaints. If the the loud noise continues, call the state at 586-4700.

“Don’t get me wrong, I support the rail but not at two in the morning,” Toma said.

“If they called you, would you be willing to look into it?” KHON2 asked.

“Oh yes, something like that,” Toma said. “Yeah, that’s something we can take a look at right away.”

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