HART planning to open first line of rail soon, but concerns remain over column cracks

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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The hammerhead cracks continue to cause concern at HART.

Back in August, RT&S reported on column cracks the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) was experiencing, which were found four years ago. The rail line will be opening soon, and the cracks still remain a concern.

Our August report focused on the conclusion that faulty hammerhead cap design on the rail line resulted in cracks. And, we reported that while the first cracks were found four years ago, they have grown significantly since then.

This week, HART shared possible ways the hammerhead column cracks could be repaired.

According to Hawaii News Now, Lori Kahikina, executive director and CEO of HART, said, “The engineering reports have not yet been finalized. However, we have had productive discussions with both [engineering] firms. It was shared with us that the designed strength of the hammerhead structures is acceptable, based on the expected live loads that the structures will carry once the rail system is open. The preventative action to be taken — a form of retrofit — has not yet been determined.”

In a separate event, project officials, according to News Now, conducted a drill for first responders of practice on how to react to a “large-scale emergency” caused by a “derailment event.”

The event was based on a train with 50 passengers heading west, then derailing and leaving the tracks, causing two simulated fatalities and lots of injuries. According to News Now, Kahikina said she was “impressed with the way the different agencies worked together in their response. It made me proud to be a city employee watching HFD, HPD, and EMS all work together to care for the passengers.”

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