Honolulu rail authority approves $40M in orders, contracts

HONOLULU — The Honolulu Rail Transit Authority board of directors has approved nearly $40 million in new rail project change orders and contracts.

The rail board’s project oversight committee voted Tuesday in favor of an increase of $20.8 million for Honolulu’s $9.2 billion rail project, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

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The increase was passed to settle what Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation staff said were more than $40 million in outstanding delay claims and other claims from Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co.

Hawaiian Dredging was awarded a contract for nearly $79 million in 2015 to build stations for the project. Since then the authority has approved 36 change orders, increasing the contract’s value to nearly $97.5 million.

The authority projected an interim opening later this year of the rail line section from East Kapolei to Aloha Stadium.

Authority Executive Director Andrew Robbins said earlier this month that efforts to prepare the system were running about four weeks behind schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That could get longer,” Robbins said Tuesday.

He added: “We’re meeting with the city to figure out what the impact is and whether that still is able to happen by the end of the year or whether it’s going to go into the first quarter of next year.”

Video and audio feeds to YouTube failed during Tuesday’s meeting. The system was established to allow public access to the meetings despite restrictions on gatherings because of the pandemic.

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Robbins was unaware the feed had malfunctioned until about 30 minutes before the meeting ended and said he did not know whether board members were aware.

Board members were legally able to proceed because Democratic Gov. David Ige signed a supplementary proclamation March 16 suspending Hawaii’s “Sunshine Law” mandating that boards and commissions conduct business in public.

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