Road repairs create traffic gridlock on H-1, Nimitz - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Road work snarls traffic on H-1, Nimitz

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

It was one of those days when in nearly every direction there's traffic.

"Really crazy both coming to town and going towards the leeward end," said Kathy Gututala, from Waianae.

Traffic on the H1 Freeway and Nimitz Highway had it the worst today.  The work on Nimitz is part of an ongoing project to synchronize the traffic lights. Crews are working on the Waiakamilo intersection now and should finish this month. 

Over the next few months the state will move on to different intersections. It has been synchronizing more than 30 intersection traffic signals since 2011 at a cost of $4 million.

The state was also doing road repair work H1 westbound near School Street, closing lanes of traffic.  There was also construction on surface streets at the School Street and Nuuanu Avenue intersection.

Over at Punahou Street it was same scene, but different location.  Road repairs with the city closed three lanes right as drivers got off the freeway by Shriners Hospital which slowed east bound lanes of H1.

The state planned to do the freeway work over spring break when public schools are off.

"I know it did cause a lot of backup so we do want to apologize for that. Our crews did try to schedule it during spring break thinking fewer people would be on the road but unfortunately that didn't seem to be the case today," said Caroline Sluyter, State Department of Transportation.  "There is never a good time. H1 is our main artery. It is old. It is in need of repairs. We try to get the work done but there is always a lot of traffic. I do understand there were a series of smaller collisions on the freeway today as well that may have contributed to the backup."

"It's holding people back from going to work. But it's also good because they're fixing up the road to prevent less accident or danger," said Paul Toloumu, from Honolulu.

"Traffic is a headache. But when you look at why they're doing it it's a small price to pay. So it's not so bad," said Grant Toyooka, from Mililani. "Either way it's an inconvenience but I'd rather have them fix the roads than get damage from potholes or sinkholes or anything like that."

Toddlers didn't mind.  This little guy has nothing but time and a shaka on his hands.

"He loves it. He gets to see the big tractors and backhoes," said Toyooka, holding his nearly two year old son Grayson.

For most of us however the traffic made us cry like a baby.

The state initially said the H1 road repair work would continue all week in both directions from Ward Avenue to Punahou Street.  Now it says that was a mistake and it will not be doing that road work in town on the H1.

For a list of the State Department of Transportation roadwork click here.

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