A viewer contacted us through the Report It feature on our website asking about broken elevators at the district court building, saying lines to use the remaining elevators sometimes extend outside the building.
We reached out to the Hawaii State Judiciary and found out two of the four elevators at the district court building on Alakea Street are out of service. So when will they be fixed, and why are multiple elevators down at the same time?
We learned that seven elevators in the building are in the process of being modernized. The project began in 2015 and was only supposed to put one elevator out of commission at a time.
But in November of 2015, one of the elevators went down, thanks to a storm that caused rain to get into parts of the elevator machine room. The state says that caused motor problems which are still being worked on.
Another elevator went down on August 22 of this year and has been down ever since. We learned the contractor for the project estimates another two to three weeks before that elevator will be back up and running.
Judiciary spokesperson Tammy Mori said “our office hasn’t been notified with a specific complaint until you brought it to our attention. I know that the district court staff has been monitoring the situation really carefully, so they’ve been trying to avoid any delays, but we do ask folks that they plan accordingly — maybe leave an extra five minutes if you’re coming to court and need to be here at a certain time. We’re doing the best we can to minimize the impact to the public.”
Matters handled at the district court building include small claims and regular claims cases, landlord-tenant disputes, traffic cases, and misdemeanors. The facility also houses two circuit court divisions handling domestic violence jury trials.
Of the seven elevators, four are for the public, one is private, one is for freight purposes, and the other is used as a detainee elevator.
If lines get too long, two escalators serving the first four floors of the building could be reversed to go up instead of down.
The project to modernize the elevators began in 2015 and is set to span 5 years.