Feds approve construction work on Honolulu commuter line

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HONOLULU – The federal government has authorized nearly $185 million in construction on Honolulu’s planned 20-mile elevated commuter rail line, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports. Included in an authorization letter from the Federal Transit Administration was permission to begin erecting columns and perform other work on a $372 million section of elevated guideway from Pearl Highlands to Aloha Stadium. The city was also authorized to do site grading and foundation work on a $195 million car shop.
 
The Federal Transit Administration has authorized the city to pour the foundations and build support columns for the elevated route along Farrington and Kamehameha highways, but won’t yet allow the city to spend $21.8 million to fabricate the concrete sections at a yard where they will be precast. Work related to the precast yard was excluded because the city hasn’t finalized a site for the yard. The city expects to obtain federal approval in time for casting to begin as scheduled this summer.
 
The precast yard will be used to fabricate 30-foot-wide concrete sections, which will be placed on top of concrete support columns. Contractors will build the sections at the yard and assemble them on the support columns.
 
The third-rail-electric system will begin in East Kapolei and connect the Honolulu International Airport and downtown Honolulu, ending at Ala Moana Center not far from Waikiki. It is Hawaii’s most expensive public works project ever, costing a projected $5.5 billion. It is projected to carry about 116,000 people daily. Completion is expected in 2019.
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