Honolulu's mass transit plan to construct an elevated rail system, which is projected to alleviate road traffic by 30,000 vehicles, is moving ahead quicker than planned. In October, the City and County of Honolulu awarded the first of several construction contracts to Kiewit Pacific Company. The contractor was awarded the design-build contract for construction of the first phase of the elevated guideway route from Kapolei to Pearl Highlands near Leeward Community College.
If all goes as planned and the final Environmental Impact Statement is approved by state and federal authorities, then groundbreaking of The Honolulu Rail Transit Project will commence with construction of the elevated guideway, installation of the train tracks and restoration of the road surface along the first section of the route. Separate contracts are scheduled to be awarded in early 2010 for the train storage and maintenance facility in Waipahu, which will be designed to LEED-Silver Certification standards, and for the manufacturing and shipment of the train vehicles. The City already began seeking proposals for the next phase of the rail route, from Pearl City to Aloha Stadium, two years earlier than expected. So be on the lookout for train service for the first leg to begin in 2012, with full service of the entire 20-mile route from East Kapolei to Ala Moana in 2019.