Driver blames rail construction for concrete splatters on car


An Oahu driver is blaming rail construction after he said concrete rained onto his car.

On Sept. 23, Timothy Castillo said he was driving under the H-1 overpass along Kamehameha Highway in Pearl City when he felt something splatter onto his new car.

The Haleiwa resident said it was a concrete mix.

“I thought it was rain at first. Then I checked my arm, it was grayish. I tried to wipe my arm and it just smeared all over my arm,” Castillo explained.

Suspicious, he checked the car and found grayish spots that quickly hardened.

Castillo says not only is it hard finding an auto body shop on island to repair the damage, but the car was a gift from his wife, purchased two months ago.

“I shouldn’t feel like I shouldn’t be underneath the railway. It shouldn’t be dangerous. It should be safe for other people to drive,” he said.

Castillo blames rail construction: “(The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation) needs to be held accountable because of safety reasons, public safety reasons. This is horrible.”

We took a look at the area on Monday and noticed dried concrete on the highway.

Hawaii Auto Detail owner Benjamin Tongson told KHON2 he fixed three cars with concrete “all over the car, splattered all on the tops mainly. It was pretty bad. You would be mad if it happened to you kind of thing, you know? I can understand why the customers were coming in pissed off.”

Tongson says concrete repairs on vehicles are rare on Oahu.

“It should not have happened,” he said. “With the construction going on, I can understand a few accidents happening here and there, nothing is ever perfect. But at the same time, things like this should be addressed and taken care of, and there should be proper procedures in place to prevent things like this from happening.”

We went to HART for answers.

“What exactly happened during rail construction in the Pearl City area on the night of September 23rd?” KHON2 asked HART spokesman Bill Brennan.

“I’m not sure of the night it happened, but what I do know is one night last week, while crews were up doing some finishing work on that balanced cantilever part of the freeway over by Sears Distribution Center over the H-1 Freeway, they were applying some grout, a fluid concrete mix that helps connect the precast segments. Some of that grout spilled over the balanced cantilever and down onto the ground below,” he responded.

“Was it faulty equipment, or was it human error that caused the spill?” KHON2 asked.

“I can’t say for sure. We’re still investigating as to why and how that happened,” he said. “We know it did happen. We want to be open to people who may have been impacted, to feel free to call HART and file a claim.”

“What precautions will HART take in the future to ensure this doesn’t happen again?” KHON2 asked.

“Usually what we do is we put something underneath the area we’re working in case something falls or spills it’s caught. I think we would look into doing that in the future,” Brennan said. “Because we’re finishing the work there, there wasn’t anything underneath this time.”

This is not the first time a spill like this has happened. HART says it happened during construction work on the other balanced cantilever near the H-1, H-2 merge.

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