HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By: Marc Arakaki
Beginning in September, the State Department of Transportation will begin a year-long H-1 Freeway Rehabilitation Project. The work will be done during nighttime hours from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. (Sunday nights through Friday mornings) and will span from the Middle Street overpass until Ward Avenue.
The project will include resurfacing lanes, upgrading lighting, improving drainage and adding an additional lane - similar to work done on the H-1 Freeway between the Punahou Street overpass and the Pali Highway off-ramp. The DOT says that up to 120 nights of full-lane closures in one direction at a time will be necessary.
"Having four lanes now – adding one lane in each direction – is going to help," DOT Deputy Director – Projects Jadine Urasaki said. "It's not going to resolve all of our traffic nightmares but it is going to try and help the quality of life in getting us to and from work."
The project will cost approximately $42 million. 80-percent will be paid by federal monies and 20-percent paid for by the state.
The DOT estimates around 200,000 vehicles use the H-1 Freeway in the area this project is scheduled to take place and it admits that with alternate routes already congested, there is no good time to perform repairs.
"In the past, engineers tried to shy away from it because of the challenges – because of the congestion and usage," DOT Traffic Branch Engineering Program Manager Alvin Takeshita said. "There's so much relocation or negative impact to the public. If we were to do a real engineering dream job of widening the freeway [and] replacing all of the overpasses, it would be so costly that it is not affordable."
The DOT also spoke with emergency services personnel to notify them of the road closures. DOT is asking the public to use alternate routes (please see attached map). A contract for this project was just approved and the DOT will provide a project website and contact phone number prior to construction. Questions currently can be directed to the DOT Public Affairs Office by email email@example.com. The DOT also urges residents to visit goakamai.com for real-time traffic information.
Other projects scheduled to take place include: repaving of Vineyard Blvd. (to start in a few months), daytime improvements to Kalanianaole Hwy. from Ainakoa to Hanauma Bay (to start in early 2014), and repaving of Kamehameha Hwy. from Waipio to Wahiawa through Mililani. The current PM contra-flow project in the Pearl City and Aiea area is scheduled to be completed in August 2014.