Moanalua Freeway drivers will have to wait a little longer for a new lane

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HALAWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Back in May, the state said it would have another lane available on the Moanalua Freeway by August.

The state said the added westbound lane through the Halawa Interchange to the Aiea Heights overpass was aimed at improving gridlock in the area.

But it's now November and the lane isn't there yet.

State Department of Transportation Highways deputy Director Ed Sniffen said the contractor, Grace Pacific, got hung up by weather when installing a contraflow lane on Kahekili Highway.

"When the rains started in that area, the sub-grade was a lot wetter than we expected, the project extended about five months," he said.

Grace Pacific first had to finish Kahekili before moving to the freeway project. But once work began to relocate guardrails and shift lanes on the freeway the contractor discovered the surface conditions didn't match what was on the drawing board.

"So we had to redesign that area," Sniffen said. "That's another couple of three weeks to make sure we got the redesigns done,and regraded appropriately to make sure we relocated the guardrails and relocated the lanes appropriately."

He added that the state should have let the community know about the changed timeline.

The new goal: To have the lane ready for drivers by the end of the year.

Ewa Beach resident Joe McConnell said he's disappointed about the delay, but happy to see the work is moving forward.

He drives the freeway daily and wondered why the new lane isn't finished.

"I've seen some machinery around to start adding that third lane that they mentioned, but I haven't seen a whole lot of construction," he said.

The price tag for the project — $4 million — hasn't changed.

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