Case Studies

Royal Contracting Company Ltd.

53 years as Hawaii's trusted civil contractor

Royal Contracting Company Ltd (RCC) has been a longstanding name in Hawaii since 1961 with a core of experienced professionals. Every executive, estimator, superintendent, operator and laborer at RCC stands behind efficient, cost-effective delivery that islanders have come to trust over the last 53 years. The Honolulu-based company serves clients in the residential and public works sector, offering excavation, site work and underground utility service capable of tackling any above or below ground project.

Ed Hulihee founded RCC in 1951 and passed the company onto his son, Dave Hulihee, who now resides as president. The Hulihee family welcomed RCC’s 50-year anniversary in 2011, hosting a traditional Hawaiian luau for friends and family. To commemorate the milestone, the company also released a special print edition of Bryan’s Sectional Maps of Oahu, marking all of RCC’s site work in red.

The trail of red weaves as deep as RCC’s rich history. “There was a lot of red,” shares Leonard Leong, vice president and 44-year employee of RCC. Now, several years later, RCC continues to leave its mark on the island, tackling standard jobs but also one of the largest to ever commence on Oahu’s shores.

“Hawaii is still recovering from the recession and business has certainly slowed down in the past few years,” shares Leong. “For the most part, we’ve been performing our normal work; drainage channels, subdivisions, etc., but RCC was recently awarded the opportunity to take part in one of the most exciting projects Oahu has seen in years -the Honolulu Rail Transit Project (HRTP).”

Making way for the next big milestone

Established in 2005, the goal of HRTP is to provide an efficient and reliable transportation alternative for Honolulu’s congested urban corridor, according to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART). “The project provides for a rail transit route running from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center, with stations at 21 key commuter and visitor destinations, including Aloha Stadium, Pearl Harbor, Honolulu International Airport and downtown Honolulu, Oahu’s core commercial and business center,” says HART.

“HRTP stretches from the west side of Oahu, which used to be sugar cane land to the new University of Hawaii- West Oahu,” details Leong. “The elevated rail will run about 20 miles, with stops every mile or so along the route.”

HART says the modernized, fully automated, electrically powered rail system will take more than 40,000 vehicles off roadways every week day by 2030. “Because the train will be electrically powered, it will use renewable energy sources, thereby reducing Hawaii’s dependence on fossil fuels,” cites HART. “Rail transit will deliver reliable and affordable transportation service, enhancing the quality of life for Oahu’s residents by freeing them from time spent in traffic congestion.”

Digging for details

The first section of the rail system, from Kapolei to Aloha Stadium, is slated to begin operating in 2017, and the entire route will be operational in 2019 when the remaining segment to Ala Moana Center is completed. But as is Hawaiian tradition, construction was not given the go ahead without significant investigation into the project’s impact on the land and resources.

“There are a lot of historical sites to work around including native Hawaiian burial sites, so a study of the rail route was a critical component in the preconstruction phase,” explains Leong. “In 2011, RCC started worked closely with archaeologists to prepare and coordinate an extensive study of the HRTP route.”

RCC delivered civil construction services, from heavy excavation to traffic detours and rerouting. “Whatever they needed for support, we did,” shares Leong. “After the archeologists entered the trench and completed a section we would cover the site and backfill to restore the surface.”

“If they found remains we would encapsulate them in concrete or move the artifacts to the desired location,” continues Leong. “A majority of the work was performed late at night and on weekends to limit the impact on local traffic because state and federal agencies were very concerned with the project inhibiting motorists.”

Leong says the initiation of the long-awaited $5 billion project is helping to drum up much needed economic activity in Oahu. “Builders can tell there’s more going on; tower cranes are going back up and the mass transit project is adding about $600 million in already-awarded contracts with more coming up to bid in the near future,” he reveals.

For 53 years and running, the company has supported projects that revitalize and better Hawaii and with more in store, Royal Contracting Company Ltd. continues to be a viable player.

Published on: November 10, 2014

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