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3 injured in 8-vehicle crash that closes H-3 lanes at tunnel

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 01:08 a.m. HST, Jul 23, 2013

A 33-year-old man was in serious condition and two other people were in stable condition and taken to hospitals Monday after a eight-vehicle accident on the Kailua-bound lane in the Tetsuo Harano Tunnel of the H-3 freeway that also resulted in a van fire, authorities said.

The accident happened during rush hour at about 4:52 p.m. Monday.

Honolulu Fire Capt. Terry Seelig said the fire in the van spread from gas from acetylene and oxygen tanks; but the tanks didn't explode. The fire did not hurt anyone, he said.

Two motorists refused transportation to the hospital, according to an Emergency Medical Services report.

The H-3 freeway at the Harano Tunnel was closed until about 9:30 p.m. in the Kaneohe-bound direction after the accident and fire that sent black smoke billowing out of the tunnel, police said.

The town-bound lanes were contra-flowed until the tunnel was cleared of vehicles and reopened.

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judymd wrote:
I saw 9 involved vehicles, and 2 further down the wy
on July 22,2013 | 05:40PM
localguy wrote:
Way too many rookie drivers out there. You can spot them constantly tailgating other drivers, leaving them no reaction time when there is a problem.
on July 22,2013 | 07:28PM
tiki886 wrote:
Or the rookie slowed down to 45 miles per hour just before they entered the tunnel.
on July 22,2013 | 08:54PM
Big C wrote:
To the many crazy drivers out there. Slow down and smell the roses, before you end up pushing up the roses. Why are you so much in a rush. Start a little earlier, and arrive on time more safely.
on July 22,2013 | 08:17PM
RichardCory wrote:
These words fall on deaf ears. Your advice might as well be, "Stop being an imbecile." Well, it's not so easy for some people. Why? Because they're imbeciles.
on July 22,2013 | 09:42PM
localguy wrote:
Want to bet the DOT operated small road advisory signs showed the H3 as "Open" Past accidents have shown DOT failed, and they have admitted their willful failure, to install the right advisory signage for motorists.
on July 23,2013 | 05:55AM
localguy wrote:
Want to bet the DOT operated small road advisory signs showed the H3 as "Open" Past accidents have shown DOT failed, and they have admitted their willful inability to install the right advisory signage for motorists.
on July 23,2013 | 05:55AM
salsacoquibx wrote:
What Happen was for the need to know is a lady in a white cadillac stopped inside the tunnel, causing the chain reaction of cars to crash.. I know cause my son was in one of the vehicles, when they went in the tunnel there was no time and not enough distance to stop..plus the road was wet, which made the vehicles slide. There were explosions contrary to what HFD said..it was about 4 to 5. Lucky for all..it could of been worse. So no rookie drivers just what one driver did to cause a chain reaction.
on July 23,2013 | 07:57AM
Dolphin743 wrote:
Maybe she stopped because of the completely unjustified and counterproductive "Reduce Speed" messages that have been put on the advisory display signs at both tunnel entrances. Many drivers see these signs and hit the brakes as they enter the tunnel, assuming there must be some sort of condition ahead that requires slowing down. Ever since they started putting up those warnings a few months ago, traffic at the entrance frequently drops to well below the speed limit just as cars enter the dark tunnels. While I'm sure some tunnel employees are trying to help by putting the message up, it's time they realized that they are contributing to unsafe conditions by directing drivers to take actions for conditions that don't exist. Maybe the state has some liability for the injuries in this case.
on July 23,2013 | 12:20PM
lumner wrote:
There is too much contrast at the point of entry on both the Halawa Valley side and the Kaneohe side. In the morning, approaching the tunnel from Kaneohe, the sun is lighting up the exterior, but the tunnel entry is completely black. If someone is in those shadows, you won't know until you get there. The same condition exists in the afternoon. They need to put better transiition lighting at the tunnel entries to elimiinate the shadows for better visibility.
on July 23,2013 | 09:08AM
Tarakian wrote:
Excellent point, please contact the DOT via email and phone.
on July 23,2013 | 10:59AM
walrus808 wrote:
I ended up sitting in that traffic for an hour and a half yesterday. I got on the H3 around 5:30pm and there were NO warnings on our multimillion dollar signs on the H1. The story is also incorrect about the contraflow, it never happened! The traffic report kept saying that traffic was flowing slowly and that vehicles were being routed on a single lane through the Halawa bound tunnel. Traffic was at a stand still, we inched forward every 5-10 mins, but I was sitting there with my car off most of the time. Once they finally started moving the traffic through, they turned us back towards town and everyone had to take the Like Like or Pali to Kaneohe. The DOT totally failed to warn anyone about the closure and the police could have easily routed the traffic through the other tunnel. I thought that's why they have all those lane open/closed signs through that whole area. Why did we waste the money on all the traffic control signage if they aren't going to utilize it???
on July 23,2013 | 10:25AM