H-1 Freeway to shut down for major road project - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

H-1 Freeway to shut down for major road project

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The state unveiled its plans for a heavily-used stretch of the H-1 Freeway through town. Upgrades are on the way, but drivers should brace for slowdowns during the next year.

Roughly 200,000 vehicles travel along the H-1 between Middle Street and Ward Avenue each day, creating a lot of wear and tear on one of the oldest stretches of the freeway.

"We'll be making repairs in the concrete up to 12 inches deep to address underlying deterioration. We'll also be replacing highway lighting in this area with upgraded cutoff lenses that are more environmentally friendly for astronomers and migrating birds," explained Glenn Okimoto, director of the Department of Transportation.

Other improvements include glare screens on the median, upgraded drainage, and the widening of the Nuuanu Stream Bridge. Restriping will also create a fourth lane in each direction to speed up travel times.

"We won't have a freeflow condition after the project is completed. There's always going to be traffic," said highways administrator Alvin Takeshita. "We hope to at least create a dent in our congestion issue."

On September 22 and 23, all eastbound lanes will be blocked from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. between Likelike Highway and Ward Avenue.

Eastbound drivers on the H-201 Moanalua Freeway will be advised to exit using the Airport/Tripler Hospital Off-Ramp (Exit 3) and to use Puuloa Road to Nimitz Highway as an alternate route. From the H-1 Freeway Airport Viaduct, drivers will be directed to exit using the Waikiki/Nimitz Highway Off-Ramp (Exit 18A) or the Middle Street/Dillingham Boulevard Off-Ramp (Exit 18B) as alternate routes.

After the first two nights of the project, there will be no full freeway closures for the rest of this year. Expect a single-lane closures in both directions beginning at 9 p.m. with an additional lane closure at 11 p.m. Lane closures will be nightly, from Sunday nights though Friday mornings. Lanes will reopen at 4 a.m.

Authorities plan to increase the signal time on alternate routes to help ease the added congestion.

"To the extent we can keep the greens longer to facilitate more movement through the intersections, we will," said Mike Formby, director of the Department of Transportation Services.

DOT officials are also taking into account other H-1 projects like the pm contraflow lane.

"Obviously that is night work so we are coordinating as much as possible between our teams that are working the project," said Jadine Urasaki, a DOT deputy director. "There will definitely be overlap because both will run until next year."

Federal money will be used for 80% of the $42-million project. The state is responsible for the rest.

Additional full freeway closures are scheduled during approximately three months in 2014. More details about the dates of those closures will be announced next year.

The project is expected to be done by the end of July.

For more information, head to www.H1rehab.com or call the project info line at 735-7465.

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