DOT responds to traffic congestion resulting from HPD investigat - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

DOT responds to traffic congestion resulting from HPD investigation

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The death of a man on the H-1 Freeway near Punchbowl caused a major traffic gridlock during the morning commute Wednesday after police shut down a section of the freeway for nearly four hours, but the Department of Transportation said it purposely waited to open the HOV and zipper lanes until later in the morning.  

Although the closure started at 4:30 a.m., the DOT waited until 7 a.m. to open the HOV and zipper lanes to help alleviate traffic. In a statement, the DOT said it purposely delayed the opening to keep drivers from rushing toward those open lanes at the peak of congestion.

Here’s what the statement said:

The decision of when to open the HOV and Zipper lanes to all vehicles was discussed and it was determined that the opening should occur when we are within 20 minutes of opening the incident site.  This ensures that we don’t give the public a false sense of mobility, that we keep cars moving toward the right lanes where they were able to exit the freeway onto local roads, and we could avoid, to the extent possible, the difficult situations that arise from last minute cut overs to exits.  A decision was made in the field to open the lanes sooner than discussed based on the congestion on the freeway and side streets.  HDOT assisted in and supported the decision. 

However, traffic reporter Danielle Tucker said it was HPD officers who, out of frustration, finally opened those lanes themselves.

“I’m baffled by that statement,” she said. “We had some communication problems, we couldn't reach anyone. It was a drastic situation. It required drastic action and frankly maximizing resources. The resource was the HOV lane.”

The DOT said it was in constant communication with the Honolulu Police Department and Department of Transportation Services.

The man whose body was found on the freeway has not been identified.

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