HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By: Jon Rombaoa
It's been a long time coming, but the H-1 rehabilitation project is finally complete and Gov. Neil Abercrombie celebrated with the Hawaii Department of Transportation and other dignitaries at a dedication ceremony on Friday at the Bishop Museum's Atherton Halau.
Within less than an 11 month period, drivers can see improvements along a three to four mile stretch between the Middle Street merge and the vicinity of Ward Avenue. The project brought new LED lights, glare strips, drainage, resurfaced roads and most importantly, one extra lane in both directions to help open up one of the most heavily traveled corridors in the state.
"We're adding 25 percent more additional capacity so that's another 2,500 vehicles for that extra lane that we're going to have going through this three, four mile stretch," Deputy Director of the State Department of Transportation, Jadine Urasaki said. "You'll see a 15 to 20 minute improvement in the traffic."
Thanks to the hard work done by the general contractor, Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company, Inc. and subcontractors, the project was a huge success that Gov. Abercrombie could not have been any more proud of.
"We didn't just resurface H-1, we rebuilt and improved it, getting the job done in time to beat the school jam," Gov. Abercrombie said. "The new lane re-striping gives motorists four lanes in each direction instead of three in the busiest section of freeway through Downtown Honolulu. We've already heard from motorists experiencing the reduction of traffic, which will save motorists time and money, reduce pollution and improve our overall quality of life."
After many lane closures, gridlocks and detours, drivers can now commute on a wider, safer road that was paid for by state and federal funds.
"The taxpayers should be very happy," Ryan Yamane from the House of Representatives said. "One, it came on time and it came within budget, and what we're trying to do is because there is federal monies currently with the highway trust fund that just got reset to may of next year, we want to show to the federal government that Hawaii can do projects, we can do it in budget, and on time."
The DOT says the last major resurfacing of this section was previously completed in the late 1990s, during which a 1.5-to-2-inch layer of asphalt concrete was laid over the existing pavement. The rehabilitation went to greater depths than a top-layer resurfacing for better and longer-lasting results. Construction crews removed and replaced up to 12 inches of asphaltic concrete in the most badly deteriorated sections.
"The HDOT thanks the public for its patience and kokua during the lane closures and hopes they enjoy these improvements that are part of our goal of improving the state's transportation infrastructure," State Department of Transportation Interim Director, Ford Fuchigami said.