New shoulder lane expected to help west Oahu drivers

New shoulder lane expected to help west Oahu drivers
Published: Aug. 15, 2016 at 9:03 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 15, 2016 at 9:14 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

KAPOLEI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The fresh blacktop and bright white lines extend for two miles heading east on H1.

Now, during the morning rush townbound drivers can slip into a new shoulder lane that extends two miles from Kualakai Parkway to the Kunia/Waipahu/Ewa exit.

Rep. Sharon Har believes it will shave minutes off commutes.

"Those residents who work in Schofield now can utilize that shoulder lane. It will now free up the general purpose lanes for those commuters going into town," she said.

Drivers can use the shoulder lane weekdays from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., excluding holidays. Buses and commercial trucks aren't allowed to use it.

The State Department of Transportation opened the new lane a week before more than 53,000 UH, college and private school students return to school.

DOT also added a second Zipper Lane from the H1/H2 merge to Pearl Harbor and will suspend some road-related construction from August 22 to 26.

"I have challenged the department to maximize the infrastructure that we have and find quick ways to make a difference in traffic now," Gov. David Ige said.

At the same time, the city is rolling out its vanpool program.

"We're hoping that 150 vans and seven people a van, we're going to get 1,050 off the roads in single-occupancy vehicles," Department of Transportation Services director Michael Formby said.

The city will use $500,000 of state and federal funds to subsidize the operating costs of 150 vans. The city is partnering with Enterprise Rideshare and VRide.

"The drivers' perks are they get to the use the van for their personal use. Their duties are to keep their van full and pick them up responsibly and on time and get them safely to their destination," Sen. Michelle Kidani said.

Vanpoolers will save on fuel, parking and wear and tear on their own vehicles.

As for the new shoulder lane, Har said west Oahu drivers have been wanting it for a long time.

"They said to us, 'Every day this traffic is ridiculous, what we have to endure. And so we saw this shoulder lane. Why can't we use it?'" she said.

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