Major H1 construction project expected to snarl traffic

Published: Apr. 25, 2013 at 9:16 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 26, 2013 at 4:03 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than 144,000 cars a day travel the H1 freeway between Middle Street and Ward Avenue so there really isn't a good time to close it but the state may not have any other choice.

Every inch of the H1 freeway in both directions from Middle Street to Ward Avenue will be improved in some way shape or form by repaving or widening it to four lanes.

It's a three and a half mile stretch and one of the busiest roadways in the state. There likely won't be any daytime closures but there is a strong chance of closing all lanes in one direction overnight which would speed the job up by about six months.

"Road projects especially on freeways, especially here in an island state where there are limited alternate routes, there is heavy traffic already. It's always very difficult. There is no good time to do this work unfortunately but it's important work that needs to be done," said Caroline Sluyter, State Department of Transportation. "Unfortunately when we do this kind of work it is going to cause some inconvenience for the public so we hope they can understand the goal is to improve our quality of life."

During a closure cars would be forced to exit onto surface streets which will clog them up and add more noise for people in the area.

"We understand it will be an inconvenience for people because we will be making some noise, there will be extra traffic on the surface streets if we do have to shutdown sections of the freeway," said Sluyter. "This is going to be an approximately $40 million project here but also hopefully at the end it will give some relief to the traffic by adding the extra lanes."

Residents along the route have different perspectives on the overnight work.

"A stoppage of traffic or an inconvenience may actually help people get out of their house and go for a walk," said Anthony Serna, Ward Avenue resident.

"Overnight probably going to be pretty loud but I guess I have to buy ear plugs or something," said Kaluna Hoomana, Nuuanu Avenue resident.

The state is still in the design phase for the project, however it should know more firm details in the coming weeks.

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