More Iwi Discovered Along Honolulu Rail Route

Hinaleimoana Kalu

More human remains have been discovered along the Honolulu rail route.

Workers found a single intact burial as well as remains from at least two separate individuals in downtown Honolulu this past weekend, according to a report from the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.

The iwi was found along Halekauwilia Street, the same location of a bone fragment unearthed last month marking the first human remains to be found along the route.

The remains were discovered during an archaeological inventory survey being conducted by HART.

The intact burial was found to be in a flexed position, according to Hinaleimoana Kalu, chair of the Oahu Island Burial Council, indicating that it was a traditional Hawaiian burial. Kalu said that more burials are likely to be found in the area.

The findings, while anticipated by HART, come about a month after the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the city and state had violated state laws governing burials, causing construction on the $5.26 billion rail project to be stopped. The court ruled that a full archaeological inventory survey had to be completed before beginning construction, as opposed to a phased approach that allowed construction to begin after each of four segments was surveyed.

The project delays are expected to add months to the project and cost the city millions. Preliminary analyses estimate that the city will have to pay out up $95 million on just three of the existing contracts.

Kalu said that State Historic Preservation Division will decide on the protocol for treating the bone fragments, and the burial council will decide on the treatment for the intact burial.

SHPD has been under fire for allowing construction to begin on projects without requiring an archaeological inventory survey to be completed first.

Kalu said that SHPD officials had been reaching out to the burial council more to consult on the treatment of burial remains, regardless of which agency has jurisdiction.


DISCUSSION: Do you think that the iwi findings will bolster resistance to the rail project?

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