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Busy H-1 eastbound stretch to close two nights

By Marcel Honore

LAST UPDATED: 06:27 p.m. HST, Sep 09, 2013

The H-1 freeway eastbound from the Likelike Highway to Ward Avenue will be completely closed from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. for two nights later this month, state traffic officials say.

The Department of Transportation this morning announced the closures for Sunday, Sept. 22 and Monday, Sept. 23.

The move will launch a year-long freeway construction project through town that will extend late into the night the H-1 congestion that commuters already endure there during the day.

"We will be causing a little disruption, but we need this work badly," Hawaii DOT Director Glenn Okimoto said. 

The "H1 Rehabilitation Project" is an effort to fix and repave a 3.5-mile stretch of the state's most heavily used highway between Ward Avenue and Middle Street.

It allows construction crews to shut down the highway in one direction at a time for up to 120 nights throughout the project, which state officials say they hope to wrap by the end of July 2014. The two full closures later this month are the only ones scheduled for the remainder of 2013, they add.

For the upcoming overnight eastbound full closures, Okimoto urged H-1 drivers to avoid the area entirely at that time if possible. Otherwise, they should exit Dillingham Boulevard or Nimitz Highway. Drivers on the Moanalua freeway (H201) should exit at Puuloa Road and then use Dillingham or Nimitz as alternate routes.

After those two full closures, commuters can expect nightly lane closures on the H-1 between Middle Street and the Ward Avenue area throughout the project.  Typically one lane will close in each direction starting 9 p.m., with an additional lane will closing 11 p.m.

However, for Sept. 25 and Sept. 26 those nightly closures will be eastbound only, DOT spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter said.

Local traffic officials are encouraging drivers to use School, King and Beretania Streets, as well as Vineyard, Ala Moana and Dillingham Boulevards as alternate routes to travel in the Ewa and Diamond Head directions during the night.

The city's Department of Transportation Services will work with the state to extend green light signal times where possible on those alternate routes, DTS Director Mike Formby said Monday. DTS also plans to have traffic engineers working at Honolulu's traffic management center at night, when they normally wouldn't be there, he added.

"There's a lot of congestion on the alternate routes but we do the best we can," Formby said.  "We're going to do our best -- that's all I can commit at this time."

The work in town coincides with H-1 traffic further west from the ongoing "PM Contraflow" project -- highway deck repairs in the Aiea and Pearl City areas that have commuters facing lane closures there from 7:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.  That schedule is expected to last through April. 

The in-town rehabilitation project will repave an asphalt-concrete layer about 12 inches deep along that H1 stretch -- a material that's stronger than typical asphalt and designed to last 10-15 years, instead of 7 to 10 years, to better handle the 200,000 vehicles that use the corridor each day.

The $42 million project, paid for mostly with federal dollars, will also reconfigure H-1 to have four lanes in both directions from Punahou Street to Middle Street. It will further replace existing highway lights with modern models that better contain the light to the highway and are more environmentally friendly for migrating birds, officials said.

The state DOT has set up a website, www.H1rehab.com and a hotline (808) 735-7465, where local drivers can learn more about the project and its construction schedule.

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what wrote:
DOT is asleep at the wheel and barely keeping up with Honolulu's expansion. If DOT had built and expanded highway infrastructure to keep pace with Honolulu's population, there wouldn't have to be such a critical disruption. Double deck Nimitz already.
on September 9,2013 | 02:00PM
BigErn wrote:
I second that! And while we're at it, scrap rail and use the funds to double deck H1 through town, double deck Kal Highway, and tunnel under Pearl Harbor.
on September 9,2013 | 02:40PM
hanabatadayz wrote:
the people voted for rail..so it's partially the voters fault
on September 9,2013 | 04:25PM
Wazdat wrote:
AGREE. Always a day late and a dollar short. What about the middle street merge widen, Nimitz flyover ???
on September 9,2013 | 04:54PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
They tried to do that in the mid 1990s and small businesses along the route near Sand Island objected. In a family unit, the father and mother discuss and a compromise is reached. In Government, an impasse means nothing gets done, especially with poor executive leadership.
on September 9,2013 | 05:10PM
hanabatadayz wrote:
the businesses didn't want that..so it's partially our fault again..the government can't please everyone..so this is the end result..so we all suffer because the businesses didn't want it and the people voted for rail..so why grumble when we make the wrong decisions..it's our own fault
on September 9,2013 | 06:17PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Road projects are mostly funded by Federal funds. Rail projects are mostly funded by State residents.
on September 9,2013 | 02:00PM
whatcanisay wrote:
anyway we can a map of the h-1 eastbound showing where it's going to shutdown, which on ramps are going to be closed?
on September 9,2013 | 02:38PM
RichardCory wrote:
There's a link at the end of the article. Read it.
on September 9,2013 | 09:10PM
BigErn wrote:
I'm happy for the migrating birds
on September 9,2013 | 02:38PM
kekahahi wrote:
time to retire and move to kauai.
on September 9,2013 | 03:27PM
Anonymous wrote:
Holy schnikes.
on September 9,2013 | 03:29PM
syhud wrote:
Of course this will be done how they always do repairs. Band-aid and touch up repairs.
on September 9,2013 | 04:56PM
iwanaknow wrote:
They should close for three days then finish in two and make a big deal about how great they are.
on September 9,2013 | 05:17PM
Skyler wrote:
Haha fo'real.
on September 9,2013 | 05:31PM
hanabatadayz wrote:
you do realize that it's the contractor that's closing the freeway and not the state?..well now you do
on September 9,2013 | 06:18PM
78R8R wrote:
DOT needs to find other solutions. Need to restore the shoulder lanes and widen the lanes again. Lanes on and off the freeway are way too narrow. Start doing some real planning and spend the money for more than restripping. Have some real solutions
on September 9,2013 | 10:12PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
on September 9,2013 | 10:55PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
"The move will launch a year-long freeway construction project through town that will extend late into the night the H-1 congestion that commuters already endure there during the day." If this sentence was written without any rewrites then I am amazed. As for the subject matter, people that normally commute during those hours will find another way, namely Vineyard, King, Kapiolani, or Nimitz.
on September 9,2013 | 10:54PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Speaking of which would the construction not go the fastest if the H-1 was completely shut down instead of leaving one or two lanes open?
on September 9,2013 | 11:08PM
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