DOT announces plan to help ease traffic congestion following weekend gridlock

DOT announces plan to help ease traffic congestion following weekend gridlock
Shenile Mangova
Shenile Mangova

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Growing gridlock outrage continues to grow across the island, with motorists frustrated with highway construction projects that seem to have left them with no place to go.

On Sunday, motorists were stuck in traffic on the H-1 Freeway for three hours, and on Monday, the state Department of Transportation is hoping a small change will help ease frustration.

The DOT announced that it has opened up an additional lane on a half mile stretch of the freeway near the Waimalu off-ramp.

"This is the busiest roadway in the state and this corridor is the busiest of them all. So this is going to have a tremendous impact on drivers and commuters," explained DOT spokesman Tim Sakahara. "We're now able to see the benefits of this half a mile of new land immediately, It's already having a positive impact on the evening commute."

On Sunday, state transportation officials closed three lanes on the H-1 as crews were trying to double up on concrete pours to complete that new stretch of freeway.

The three lanes were supposed to reopen by 10 a.m., but heavy rains forced crews to extend the lane closures to 3 p.m., angering many motorists.

"It kind of makes me frustrated that we have to fight this traffic. You fight traffic Monday through Friday then you add on Saturday and Sunday. You get irritated, frustrated," said Waikele resident Rick Nakamura.

Shenile Mangova, owner of Dave's Ice Cream in Aiea, says many of the drivers stuck in Sunday's gridlock sought the shelter of her store.

"Everybody kept coming in, we were really busy. Lines started to go outside of the door," Mangova said. "It was crazy we sold out of ice cream."

The DOT says it plans to open yet another 1,000 foot stretch of new lane in October, in hopes of easing the gridlock even more.

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