Another vehicle damaged, allegedly by rail construction, after netting removed

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A car going down the freeway was damaged by a falling object and the driver says work on the rail project is to blame.

It happened around 8:45 a.m. Thursday.

Andrea Kaopua says she was driving town-bound by the H-1, H-2 merge when her brand new Lexus was struck by an unknown object. It hit her hood and shattered her windshield.

“It was a loud ba-boom and then it just shattered everything,” she said. “The two booms were immediately right after each other and they were so loud, that impact.”

She pulled over on the next exit and shot video inside, even though she was a bit shocked by all the broken glass inside her car.

“I had it all over my body, all over the seat, and later when I checked my trunk, it was all over my trunk as well,” she said.

Kaopua said it happened when she was right underneath the cantilever and there were no other cars around her, so she says whatever came down must have come from above.

Other drivers have reported similar incidents.

Last May, Naomi Nascimento’s car was also damaged while driving underneath the same structure. After KHON2 reported the story, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, the agency that manages the rail project, put netting designed to catch materials that might fall from the cantilever.

But the netting is no longer there.

We called contractor Kiewit and HART to find out why, and if they’re doing anything to make sure nothing falls.

A HART spokesman says there were “fewer calls about filing claims” when the netting was there, but it was taken down because there are no longer gaps between the segments.

So we asked, would it be safer to put the net back?

The spokesman replied, “We certainly could consider doing that again,” and added that HART has “stringent measures in place to ensure the safety of… the traveling public.”

As for Kaopua, she considers herself lucky that no one else was in the car and that she herself was not hurt. But she wants people to know about this, hoping that this will be the last time it happens.

“I don’t want this to happen go to anyone and I don’t want someone to fear driving under the overpass,” she said.

As of July 2015, there were 60 vehicle damage claims from both the cantilever on the freeway and Kamehameha Highway.

Twenty-six claims were completed and closed, with three paid, totaling more than $1,300.

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