PEARL CITY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Drivers should expect continued work through the end of the year on the new westbound lane on the H-1 Freeway between Waimalu and Waikele, state transportation officials say.
Drivers were allowed early access to the lane that stretches 2.5 miles from the Waimalu /Pearl City -- Exit 10 -- past the H-1/H-2 merge during ongoing construction efforts followed by full access recently when they completed the extension work. But officials say they still need to repave it and realign the overhead signs along the route, which will require overnight lane closures. Officials say they won't close more than two lanes at a time.
Drivers have noticed a bumpy ride in the lane and that's because officials say potholes and other damage remains from when it was part of the shoulder lane.
According to the HDOT website, "Repaving work will add a fast setting concrete overlay. The latex modified concrete mix is more durable and designed to protect and prevent damage to the structure."
The paving work is slated to begin in November. The work will be scheduled during the overnight hours and/or weekends in an effort to minimize traffic impacts.
Officials indicated online that the paving work could not be completed earlier "because the concrete barriers that separated the freeway traffic from workers had to remain in place. New sections of the lane were also opened as they were finished so drivers could enjoy the congestion relief benefits right away."
Now that the entire lane is constructed, officials say crews will repave it at one time.
The new lane accommodates more than 2,000 cars per hour and drivers say it is easing congestion through the state's busiest corridor.
In addition, the new shoulder lane on the H-1 westbound -- that begins at the Aiea Heights Drive Overpass to the Waimalu/Pearl City off-ramp -- is open for travel during the evening commute from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
The new shoulder lane is intended to bring added capacity during the busy evening hours. New signs and pavement markings are being added, indicating the shoulder lane.
Only single-occupancy vehicles are permitted on the new shoulder lane, which runs an additional 2 miles prior to the new lane. Trucks and busses are not allowed.
Officials urge drivers to use caution because they will need to merge one lane to the left before the shoulder ends as they approach the Waimalu/Pearl City off-ramp. The merge must be completed prior to the solid white line, officials said.
HDOT advises drivers to give themselves enough time to safely advance to their preferred lane, be alert and avoid dangerous maneuvers.
Among the additional work, the Waipahu off-ramp -- Exit 8B -- in the westbound direction will be restriped to allow two lanes of travel before the Kamehameha Highway and Farrington Highway merge.
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