Experts say more railings at Ala Moana Center require immediate attention


More safety concerns are being raised at Ala Moana Center.

Experts tell us that other railings in the mall need immediate attention.

This comes just days after a railing broke free at the parking lot, which left one man dead and sent another man to the hospital in critical condition.

We’ve learned that other railings in the area are rusting at the base, and that prompted an engineering company to send us pictures of the damage.

The engineering firm did not want to be identified, so we asked construction engineer and building inspector Lance Luke to examine the pictures. He says Ala Moana Center is taking chances by letting the public walk around that section of the mall.

The pictures sent to us show a different type of railing than the one that collapsed on Sunday. These are metal rails embedded on a concrete base. The problem, experts tell us, is that the base where the rail is secured is all rusty.

“There’s heavy corrosion on the bases of the pipe railing. Although that’s not in the specific area of the accident, that could be an issue too for safety,” Luke said.

In other parts, there’s paint over the base, but you can still see signs of rust.

“Some of the railing’s covered up with paint, but the paint is peeling off and even if there’s paint over it, it’s paint over rust and corrosion that hides the pipe that’s deteriorated. That’s not going to help any,” Luke said.

The engineer who sent us the pictures believes the mall should actually close off the entire section.

“How safe is it for people to be walking around that area?” KHON2 asked.

“I think they’re taking chances by not putting signs up warning people about railings all over the shopping center,” Luke said.

We asked officials at Ala Moana Center, in the interest of safety, why not close off the area where the railings are, or at least put up warning signs? We’re still waiting for a response.

The area where the railing gave way on Sunday remains closed off.

In other parts, Luke noticed that some type of repairs had been made but he says whoever did it didn’t go far enough to actually make it safe.

“I saw other areas where they did additional caulking over the base of the railing that failed, and water’s getting in, so it’s a lack of maintenance and repair issue I would say,” Luke said.

A spokeswoman for the mall referred us to a statement released Tuesday that said:

The safety and welfare of our customers and employees is a matter that we take very seriously and always address as a priority. Following the incident on Oct. 9, Ala Moana Center staff immediately secured the area and completed an initial mall-wide inspection of all railings.

Further to this, we are engaging Desman Design Management, a structural engineering firm, to provide an assessment of all railings on property. Based on the findings, we will make any necessary improvements to ensure a safe environment for everyone that visits Ala Moana Center.

We are cooperating with the Honolulu Police Department and the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting as each continues its respective investigation into the cause of this incident.

Again, our hearts go out to the families and all those affected by this tragic event.

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