These are the state's top 3 'wish list' projects aimed at easing gridlock

These are the state’s top 3 ‘wish list’ projects aimed at easing gridlock
(Image:Hawaii News Now)
(Image:Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Funding limitations have put the brakes on large-capacity highway projects that would ease gridlock, but it hasn't halted planning for them.

And officials hope all that planning is put to good use in the upcoming legislation session, when officials are expected to again seek funding to move ahead with the projects.

State Department of Transportation identified the top three gridlock-easing projects as:

  • Adding a lane on the H-1 eastbound from Waiawa to Halawa

"At this time we tried to address it by putting in that second lane in the Zipper Lane to at least give something. But we're still looking at that long-term project there," state highways deputy Director Ed Sniffen said.

The additional lane would be used during the morning rush hours. Sniffen said just like the afternoon shoulder lane heading west through that area, an added eastbound lane could handle about 2,000 vehicles an hour.

University of Hawaii Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Chairman Panos Prevedouros calls that estimate conservative.

"If you look at the highway capacity manual, it tells you that the typical high capacity of a freeway lane is 2,400," he said.

Sniffen estimates it would cost $140 million to $200 million to design and build the extra freeway lane.

  • Widening Kahekili Highway (currently two lanes) from Haiku Road to Valley of the Temples

Sniffen said there are some concerns about widening the highway in the area. For one, he said, it could promote further development in the area, something some residents oppose.

"There's good discussions with the community on where we stop that widening," he said.

The widening would create a third lane that would be used to contraflow traffic in the morning and afternoon. The lane would cost $60 million to $80 million to install.

Prevedouros added, "I think congestion for over a decade has been quite bad in that area, and that widening is necessary."

  • Widening Route 130 on the Big Island

Route 130, also known as the Keaau-Pahoa Road, which is plagued with morning and afternoon bottlenecks.

Widening the thoroughfare would cost about $200 million.

While these "wish list" projects are on hold for now, state officials say they're hopeful new funding will come through soon.

"Because of the funding situation, we're trying to prepare the documentation as quickly as possible and get them ready for when the funding would be available," Sniffen said.

Copyright 2016 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.