Traffic relief for drivers in Honolulu - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Traffic relief for drivers in Honolulu

Tammy Mori Tammy Mori

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There may be some traffic relief for drivers in Honolulu soon.

The Queen's Medical Center is heading up a project, which hopes to create improvements to the H-1, Kinau Street off-ramp.

The State Department of Transportation will build a new right-turn lane on that busy artery to access Lusitana Street.

It's designed to ease the flow of traffic in the Ward Avenue area and offer emergency vehicles an alternative route to The Queen's Medical Center.

It's an $8.8-million project, with 80 percent of the money coming from the federal government and the rest from Queen's.

Congestion at the Kinau Street off-ramp builds up even during a non-peak time.

Officials hope to ease this congestion with a u-turn through a grassy area, heading westbound, to Lusitana Street.

"It'll be an easier access point, rather than going all around the block, but simply taking the Kinau off-ramp, make a u-turn into this immediate area," The Queen's Medical Center's Corporate Development vice-president Les Chinen said.

It's a similar concept to the King Street off-ramp's right turn that heads west.

"We feel in the long-term because of the quicker access, this will benefit all of the neighbors, residents of Hawaii, as well as anyone else using this off-ramp," Chinen said.

The project is scheduled to begin on April 26th and it should be completed in about a year.

But in the meantime, there will be lane closures, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

No night or weekend work is scheduled. That's because residents in the area felt it would be too noisy.

"We kind of had to balance the local residents as well as the traffic as best we could, so the 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. was a good compromise," State Department of Transportation spokeswoman, Tammy Mori said. "There will be some temporary inconveniences, but in the end, this will provide more options for drivers going downtown to the heart of the city, also going to The Queen's Medical Center."

Electronic message boards will be placed around the construction area.

Drivers are being asked to use caution while driving through the work areas and to allow for extra travel time.

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