HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Transportation says the nearly year-long project to make major improvements and add a lane to the H-1 Freeway is, so far, on schedule.
However, work will close down a major onramp and offramp for nearly all of Saturday.
Lane closures and traffic cones have been a fact of Honolulu night life since the DOT began the H-1 Rehab project between Middle Street and Ward Avenue last September. But much of the major work has been done in the past four months.
"We're happy that it's moving along as planned," said DOT spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter. "Of course, any construction project that you have, there's always difficult things to deal with, things that you didn't anticipate that come up, but I think they're working through it pretty well."
One of the difficulties popped up in the area of the Pali offramp and Punchbowl onramp in the westbound direction. That's where contractors digging trenches have run into dense lava rock, also known as "blue rock."
"They have to pulverize (it) to actually get in there and do the trenching," said Sluyter. "Normally if it's just dirt, we can get in there with a back hoe."
Because of the extra work to pulverize the rock, the DOT said it will shut down the westbound Pali off ramp (Exit 21B) and the westbound Punchbowl Street on ramp Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The closure will come the same day that the DOT plans to completely close the Pali Highway Kailua Bound between Waokanaka Street and Kamehameha Highway from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to stabilize areas where rockslides recently occurred.
Saturday's work, like the rest of the project, will depend on weather conditions.
"Of course, if we do have torrential downpours or this wet weather continues, it's possible it can delay it somewhat," Sluyter said. But she added that some rain delays have been factored into the construction schedule.
So far, there has been only one full freeway closure. Sluyter said more of those full shutdowns will happen during the final three months of the project, with completion expected as soon as the end of July.