Rail Construction End Of Long Line for Permits

Michael Levine/Civil Beat

Heavy rail construction is set to begin any day now, and it's taken rail planners and contractors months to pull together all the approvals they need to get started.

"There's multiple levels of permits based on what the activity is," Lorenzo Garrido, assistant project officer for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, said in a recent interview at rail headquarters on the 17th floor of Alii Place downtown.

Garrido is in charge of the team making sure all the permitting ducks are in a row, working with Kiewit Pacific to get all the paperwork in order. For one meeting with Civil Beat, he used a cart to wheel in what he said was just a sampling of all the documents HART or Kiewit have produced and submitted to government agencies as part of the process leading up to construction on the first phase of the rail line in West Oahu.

"We have very detailed lists, but generally what we focus first on is the design, the design plan that needs to be completed and approved before they can build. Then of course you've got the right-of-way and access issues, utilities and any and all of the permits needed," Garrido said. "So we basically have those four areas. Everything would generally fall in one of those."

Garrido and HART interim chief Toru Hamayasu said the first of 282 columns could go up at any of three locations — one at Hoopili, one near Waipahu High School, and one near the H-1 crossing. HART's repeatedly said it expects to start digging holes and building columns before the end of March.

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