On Tuesday, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation passed the three-mile mark in the construction of the rail guideway.
The next phase will cross over Fort Weaver Road and that means lane closures.
The Fort Weaver Road/Kunia Road overpass near Waipahu and Ewa will be closed overnight for two weeks for rail construction beginning Sunday evening, June 28.
The overnight lane closures, to run Sundays through Thursdays, will allow crews to safely build the elevated rail guideway over the vehicular overpass at the intersection of Fort Weaver Road and Farrington Highway. The work and related lane closures are expected to run two weeks from June 28 to July 10.
“The good news is that we are going to limit it to the overnight hours and it should be only about two weeks,” said HART spokesman Scott Ishikawa. “So we’re going to ask drivers for their patience. We’re also going to ask them to drive safely around the area, not only for the drivers but for the crews as well.”
The schedule is as follows:
- The southbound direction of the overpass will be closed Sunday through Thursday* between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. the following morning. Southbound drivers will be detoured onto Old Farrington Highway via the Ewa off-ramp and back onto Fort Weaver Road.
- The northbound direction of the overpass will also be closed Sunday through Thursday* between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m. the following morning. Northbound drivers will be detoured onto Farrington Highway via the Waipahu off-ramp. Drivers along Farrington Highway can turn left onto Leoku Street and Waipahu Street to re-enter Fort Weaver Road heading northbound.
*Exception: There will be no work on Thursday, July 2, in observance of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.
Directional signs will be placed along the route to help drivers navigate the detour.
While construction develops overhead, HART officials want to remind everyone to drive safely.
“We just ask everybody to please remember to be safe, drive safely and look ahead not overhead when you come by,” said HART CEO Dan Grabauskas. “That’s going to be pretty dramatic with the truss that’s behind me, which actually spans over the road while it’s being constructed.”
Soon pillars and guideways will start moving into Waipahu. Rail work there has been going on for some time, but this will be the first time the pillars and guideways will be built in the Waipahu residential and business area.
“We will be closing the balanced cantilever portion that’s over the H-1, H-2 merge, then we’ll be continuing that on the mauka and makai side of the active work zone and connecting that at the Leeward Community College site and connecting it over to the Pearl Highlands side, so those are all the activities you’re gonna be seeing in just the next four to eight week,” Grabauskas said.
Businesses like Zippy’s and Tanioka’s both say the current work has negatively impacted business.
“It’s definitely going to affect more businesses, more residents as we come into the urban core, closer to town where they are in the business areas especially, certainly there’s going to be more dialogue with those businesses and really we have to work things out in terms of traffic patterns and traffic flows,” said Honolulu City Councilman Joey Manahan, chair of the council’s transportation committee.
Manahan says businesses are encouraged to contact his office or HART with their concerns.
KHON2 spoke to residents who said they are concerned with the noise and/or traffic the newest work will bring.
“The noise won’t bother me because I don’t think I can hear them from there, but the traffic is the main thing,” said Waipahu resident Duang Siharath.
“They do construction at night so some of the noise can be loud depending on the areas of where they are and certainly as they approach, some residential areas may have some complaints, but again, we’re just asking folks to be understanding while we’re going through this process,” Manahan said.
HART says much of the noisier work has wrapped up and crews will be building the underground foundation and columns, which is expected to be less noisy.
HART adds it’s on track to meet the construction deadline of Jan. 31, 2020.