In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

Building Guideways: Behind the scenes at the Honolulu Rail Project

What goes into making all those segments?

Sponsored by HART, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation

Trains have been the backbone of mass transportation since the 1800’s and still serve much of the population today. With the Honolulu rail project well underway, Hawaii is close to experiencing its own guided railway system. Dan Howell, a project manager on the project, is taking you behind the scenes of the guideway construction taking place right now.

“We’re out in East Kapolei at the Campbell Industrial Park. We build the individual segments, and we’ve got to build 2,708 of them,” Howell says. All of the segments are cast and cured at the site and then they’re loaded onto trucks and hauled to the project. In some cases, the guideways go over 100 feet up in the air.

Each segment is built in a certain order. To make sure they fit together, Howell says crews “match cast.”

“When we cast them out in the yard, we have to cast the joint where the two come together so they all line up perfectly the same,” he explains. Howell says each segment is about 55-60 tons, while the gantry itself weights 550 tons. People have been wondering whether these guideways would support the train, but the trains only weigh about 250 tons.

The rail will run from Kapolei through the extremely congested east-west transportation corridor to the airport and downtown and Chinatown before stopping at Ala Moana Center. It will serve Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam as well as University of Hawaii at West Oahu, Leeward Community College, Honolulu Community College and Hawaii Pacific University.

In the next several years, 70 percent of Oahu’s population and 80 percent of its jobs will be within the vicinity of the rail system. It will also pick up the additional commuters who will be moving into the new housing developments at Hoopili and Koa Ridge.

For more information:, or on Facebook: @HonoluluRailTransit