Auto shops see increase in damage reportedly caused by rail work

Is Honolulu’s rail project damaging cars? At least one person told KHON2 it happened to her vehicle after driving on the H-1 Freeway.

We have been following the story for the past two months and wanted to know how many claims there have been since.

A viewer also contacted us via Report It complaining about the metal plates and bumps on Kamehameha Highway from the rail construction.

A sign warns drivers of what’s to come, but it doesn’t warn them of how many to expect.

“It’s a challenge,” said driver David Chew.

“There are a lot of steel plates you go over, and it’s boom, boom, boom,” said driver Cindy Forsythe.

Those plates are due to rail work, and Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) CEO and executive director Dan Grabauskas told KHON2 “we’ve had a number of claims that are still under investigation.”

Some drivers claim an object fell from the balanced cantilever on the freeway and, Grabauskas adds, there are “folks who have also been concerned that when they’re driving the road with the steel plates that there may have been some tire damage.”

There are 60 vehicle damage claims from both the cantilever and Kamehameha Highway. So far, 26 claims have been completed and closed with three paid, totaling $1,363.53.

“Yeah, we’ve seen some tires come in with the rims a little bit damaged and they have nail and screws in the tires,” said Leone Kamahele, operations manager for Midas.

According to Kamahele, the drivers claimed the damage was caused along Kamehameha Highway.

Experts say the road can also damage other parts of the vehicle, including shocks.

At Midas, fixing a tire with a simple patch will cost about $35. But for something more serious, like shocks and struts, it will cost at least $1,000.

“Hopefully it’s a temporary thing and they’ll fix it up and make it nicer,” Chew said.

HART says it will repave the roads once construction work is done.

Crews will begin repaving Farrington Highway in Waipahu in the first quarter of next year and Kamehameha Highway in Pearl City and Aiea a year from now.

Until then, Kamahele advises drivers: “Just go slow. That’s about it.”

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