New safety netting has been added to the rail structure above the H-1 Freeway in Leeward Oahu after KHON2 aired a story about possible falling debris from what’s known as the balanced cantilever.
A Waikele woman was driving under the structure earlier this month when she heard something hit her car from above. So she contacted KHON2 for help.
KHON2 went straight to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, which manages the rail project, and got results.
HART agreed to pay for the damage to Naomi Nascimento’s car and implemented a noticeable change.
Large black netting now covers the work areas of the balanced cantilever. They’re designed to catch debris and other materials that might fall onto the vehicles driving on the freeway.
Nascimento says the safety netting gives her peace of mind. She feels it’s safer now for everyone who has to drive under that structure.
“It gives me peace of mind now that it’s going to be a little bit safer now on the road for us,” she said.
Nascimento never saw what hit the roof of her car as she drove westbound on the H-1 Freeway, but she later discovered three dents and scratches right next to the windshield.
Since then, driving underneath the cantilever has made her nervous.
“I noticed I was going a bit slower, I think because I had a little anxiety about driving under it again, and I can’t help to think about something like that happening again,” she said.
With the netting there now, she feels it’s less likely to happen again.
KHON2 contacted HART about the story and was told that the safety committee is still investigating so officials can’t really comment.
But they did give us a statement. HART says it has directed contractor Kiewit to take extra safeguards by installing extra fabric netting beneath the work areas, spraying foam along any cracks in the platforms and adding plywood for enhanced safety.
HART CEO Dan Grabauskas adds that their safety teams will increase spot safety inspections during and outside of working hours.
HART says there’s no definitive way to tell if the damage to Nascimento’s car came from the work area, but it has directed the insurance company to pay for the damage.
Nascimento is relieved and grateful.
“I’d like to thank you folks for putting the story out there, and I’d like to thank HART for doing something about it and making the public feel a little more at ease,” Nascimento said.
Nascimento says the appraiser still has not determined how much it will cost to fix her car, but it will amount to more than a thousand dollars.