Rail project removing treesUPDATED 6:39 PM HST May 06, 2014Video Transcript
Next stop... TREE TRANSPLANTS for Honolulu's rail project... Good evening, I'm Yunji de Nies. And I'm Paula Akana. This is a massive undertaking... hundreds of trees need to be uprooted to make way for rail. KITV4's Andrew Pereira has an updated count and joins us with more... Andrew? Paula, Yunji... all told about 900 trees will be removed or transplanted before the rail line opens for business in 2019. It's an interesting trade-off as rail columns go up ... The numbers happen to work out so that nearly every of the 840 columns represents an uprooted tree... But the transit authority says "so far so good"... roughly 250 of the first 300 trees removed have been successfully transplanted. STEVE NIMZ: "THE KEY THING TO ALL OF THAT WAS WE HAD A REALLY GOOD MAINTENANCE AFTERWARDS THAT TOOK CARE OF WATERING AND MAINTAINING THEM AND THAT'S THE KEY TO THE TRANSPLANTS." As rail snakes through the middle of Dilingham Blvd, most of the trees there will be pruned, not removed. Ditto for trees along Halekauwila Street near the federal courthouse. But at Keehi Lagoon, 20 trees will be removed, some placed in front of the concrete guideway to pretty it up. MARTI TOWNSEND: "IT'S BOTH AN EFFORT OF TRYING TO IDENTIFY THOSE TREES THAT COULD HANDLE THE STRESS OF BEING BEING TRANSPLANTED AND THEN FOR THOSE THAT CAN'T MODIFYING THE GUIDEWAY SO THAT YOU CAN WORK AROUND THE TREES." ANDREW PEREIRA: "AS AN EXAMPLE, THE OUTDOOR CIRCLE IS GIVING KUDOS TO THE TRANSIT AUTHORITY FOR ACTUALLY RE-ROUTING THE GUIDEWAY AROUND THIS MASSIVE MONKEY POD TREE IN FRONT OF SAM'S CLUB IN PEARL CITY." But in 2011, the Outdoor Circle chastised the transit authority for getting too close to a tree along Farrington Highway in Waipahu. MARTI TOWNSEND: "THE TREE TREATMENT PLAN THAT HART HAS IMPLEMENTED SINCE THEN THANKS TO THE ADVOCACY OF THE OUTDOOR CIRCLE HAS REALLY HELPED TO MINIMIZE THE LOSS OF TREES ONTO THE PROJECT." HART also plans to plant 600 new trees as part of the project. MARTI TOWNSEND: "WE HOPE TO SEE A NET BENEFIT IN TERMS OF THE TREE CANOPY WHEN THE RAIL PROJECT IS COMPLETE." Arborist Steve Nimz says some of the trees slated for removal are diseased and would have to be taken down regardless of the rail project. The Outdoor Circle says we won't know how many trees are actually removed until the project finishes construction in 2019.