Omaha-based Kiewit Pacific Co. was awarded a $482.9-million contract for the first phase of construction for the 20-mile Honolulu Rail Transit Project. The 6.5-mile design-build project is expected to break ground in December and be completed in late 2012. The contract came in $90 million below the engineer’s $570-million estimate. “Because of the sluggish economy, construction bids are coming in much lower than anticipated,” says Scott Ishikawa, project spokesman. He says that has prompted the city to seek proposals now for the next phase of the $5.5-billion project.