Whatever your opinion of the Honolulu rail project, never say the elevated guideway isn’t getting at least some use.

Apparently, so many birds are nesting inside the cavity of the $9 billion future transit line’s pathway that the droppings they leave behind, or guano, now constitutes a health hazard to crews working on the project.

On Thursday, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board will consider approving nearly $1.4 million on a vector control system to address the problem.

HART rail guideway in Waipahu near the sugar mill and Bank of Hawaii.
The rail guideway runs along Farrington Highway in Waipahu. Project officials say so many pigeons and other birds are nesting inside the structure that it’s become a health hazard. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

So far it’s mostly rogue pigeons that have infiltrated the guideway, according to HART officials. Some seabirds and an invasive owl species have also been spotted, according to agency spokesman Bill Brennan.

The $1.4 million will fund design and installation of netting and other countermeasures along the full 20-mile guideway, according to HART. So far, the structure has been built from the fields east of Kapolei to about as far as the airport. No poisons or pesticides will be used as part of the vector control program, according to Brennan.

The issue came up in 2011 before guideway construction began, but no money was budgeted at the time, according to HART report.

Rail officials aim to start interim service to Aloha Stadium by the end of 2020 at the earliest.

The HART board meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

 

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