H-1 rehabilitation project begins with road closures

Published On: Sep 22 2013 07:11:00 PM HST

An eerie sight on the H-1 through town began Sunday night with no vehicles going Diamond Head.

All eastbound lanes from Likelike Highway to Ward Avenue were shut down at 8 p.m. and did not reopen until 4 a.m. Monday.

The closure represents the first night of the road project.

In addition, Sunday nights through Friday mornings there will be two lanes closed in both directions those closures will start at 9 p.m.

"People that are coming in over the Moanalua Freeway as they are coming into town, we advise them to get off at the Airport/Tripler exit and take Puuloa down to Nimitz. Then take Nimitz or Dillingham" instructed Caroline Sluyter, spokeswoman for the State Department of Transportation. "It will be open going to Likelike as your last stop for local traffic. That's a good option."

The best advice, officials say, avoid the area all together.

"We will also be checking the side streets or the surface streets around the highway, such as King Street, Beretania, Dillingham and Nimitz, to make sure that traffic isn't backing up," said Major Kurt Kendro of the Honolulu Police Department.

And the DOT says green lights will be on longer for alternate routes.

The main goal is to ease traffic when its finished with one extra lane added in each direction.

"Instead of the stop and go, maybe 5 to 10 miles per hour, you'll be going about 30," said Sluyter.

The project is also set to repair the concrete, fix deteriorating parts of the highway, and upgrade lighting.

With more than 100 days of freeway closures expected, many commuters say they were caught off-guard after just hearing of these year-long, extensive closures.

"I'm always on the road driving from one side of the island to the other side, so if the lanes are closed it will make me less effective at my job," said commuter Leonard Transfiguracion.

"Trying to go into town for dinner, for movies, last minute to go shopping that's really humbug," said commuter Richard Sears.

Business owners off King Street are worried their stores will become almost empty from the traffic jams.

"If they know that there will be closures they might not be driving into this area," said Cora Europa with Sam and Sid's Café.
The main goal of the project is to ease traffic when it's finished. There will be one extra lane added in each direction. But, for now alternate routes will be packed and sometimes the only option.

"I go to King Street, Dillingham and Nimitz Highway ... now everyone will know my secret," said Tony Agao resident of Salt Lake.


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