After traffic nightmare, other options may be reconsidered

Published: Apr. 2, 2015 at 2:23 AM HST|Updated: Apr. 2, 2015 at 3:24 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu's rail transit system has been touted as part of Oahu's transportation future. But others are convinced that even with rail, the future will look more like Tuesday's traffic mess, a fiasco they believe will happen more often.

"You know, things are getting so bad I really think all options have to be back on the table," said state Rep. Matt LoPresti (D-Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry), who is vice chair of the House Transportation Committee.

LoPresti believes more lanes need to be added to at least ease the hours-long gridlock that paralyzed traffic to West Oahu after both Zip Mobiles couldn't run.

Two options for a new roadway may return. Both of them involve cutting through or beneath Pearl Harbor.

"Some possibilities that have been floated is either a bridge over to Ford Island or perhaps a tunnel under the harbor, but that second option would be very expensive and very problematic," said LoPresti.

University of Hawaii civil and environmental engineering professor Panos Prevedouros has advocated reversible express lanes from the H-1/H-2 merge to the downtown area, which he calls a critical stretch for commuters.

"If we had it yesterday, two or three lanes, express to the H-1/H-2 split, it would be like nothing happened," he said.

Prevedouros is also a longtime rail critic. He estimates five percent of commuters would use the rail, which barely would have put a dent in Tuesday's traffic meltdown. He also said more cars will be hitting the road as more developments are approved in Central and West Oahu.

"They may have up to 80,000 new residences. Two-hundred fifty thousand warm bodies, with 90 percent of them -- cars," he said.

"The future looks very bleak."

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