The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) has completed the fieldwork required for the Archaeological Inventory Survey (AIS),
a significant step as the authority looks to resume construction activity on the rail transit project later this year.
Workers excavated more than 400 trenches along the 20-mile rail route that runs from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center, including 92 trenches in Kapolei and Waipahu, 34 trenches in the Pearl City/Aiea area, 47 in the Pearl Harbor and Airport areas and 260 in the City Center section between Middle Street and Ala Moana.
The purpose of the AIS is to identify potential archaeological, historical and cultural resources and to aid rail project staff members in their design of the elevated rail guideway.
In August of last year, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) violated its rules by giving approval for construction of the rail project to proceed before an archaeological survey was completed for the entire rail route.
HART temporarily halted construction on the project and accelerated work to complete the archaeological inventory on the portion of the route not yet surveyed.
Remains were found at seven sites, all in the City Center section. HART staff members have determined that if the decision is made to leave burials in place, HART would be able to adjust the final design to accommodate that request.
A comprehensive report on the AIS findings is now being drafted. It will be submitted to State Historic Preservation Division for its review and approval.