Sorry, there's no endless summer: As schools return, traffic will get a whole lot worse

Sorry, there's no endless summer: As schools return, traffic will get a whole lot worse
Updated: Aug. 7, 2017 at 4:28 PM HST
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(Hawaii News Now)
(Hawaii News Now)

KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Sorry, commuters: The roads are about to get a whole lot more crowded.

Most public schools are already back in session. And next Monday, most private schools will be back in class, too.

(The University of Hawaii at Manoa resumes on Aug. 21.)

All those students — about 53,000 of them — will mean lots more traffic headaches.

And the city is urging students to use alternative modes of transportation, including TheBus.

But officials are also taking steps to make the transition into the new school year as smooth as possible.

For one, the state plans to suspend construction-related road closures on major state highways from Aug. 21 to 25 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Also, starting next month, the state will add a contraflow lane on the townbound side of Kahekili Highway between West Hui Iwa Street and Haiku Road, a corridor that sees 31,000 vehicles per day. The lane be open from 5:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.

"We are confident that the contraflow lane in this area will help morning commuters and cut their travel time to Honolulu," Gov. David Ige said.

In Nanakuli, new left turn only lanes have been added so drivers leaving the Leeward Coast have a quicker commute.

And to keep traffic moving, Honolulu police have a plea if you get into a minor fender bender.

"if you can safely pull off to the side or maybe even drive to a big shoulder or triangle, we ask that you do that so you get out of the way of traffic," HPD Traffic Division Maj. Ryan Nishibun said.

He said cops will monitor the Zipper Lane, looking for people who don't have the required two or more people per vehicle.

The state's also planning ahead for next year's Beat the School Jam.

Early in 2018, the H-1 Freeway from the Waimalu viaduct to Halawa will be resurfaced. The shoulder area heading into town will be widened into a lane so cars that break down have a place to pull over.

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