The state’s Historic Preservation Division has approved the archeological survey reports for Honolulu’s rail project, transit officials announced today.
The approvals bring the $5.26 billion rail project a step closer to resuming construction.
Building was halted last year when the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled all of the archeological work should have been completed before rail construction started in West Oahu.
The Honolulu Authority Rapid Transportation hopes to restart the project as early as next month.
"This approval is a major step forward," Dan Grabauskas, HART’s executive director, said in a statement today. "Getting back to work after the year-long legal delay is essential to completing the project on time and on budget – that’s our goal."
The rail project still needs a special management area permit from the City Council before construction can proceed. The last permit was invalidated by Supreme Court ruling.
The city’s Department of Planning and Permitting has held public hearings on the permit, but officials have been waiting for the rail archeological inventory surveys to be approved before submitting a report and recommendation on the SMA permit.
The permits are required for developments along Hawaii’s shoreline. The 20-miles rail line will run near the ocean along Nimitz Highway.