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State plans new Zipper Lane for afternoon commuters

By late next year, afternoon commuters headed westbound on the H-1 Freeway will have a dedicated Zipper Lane to use during rush hour, the state Department of Transportation said today.

The state DOT held a groundbreaking ceremony earlier today for its new H-1 Freeway contraflow project, which it hopes will improve traffic congestion between Pearl Harbor (near the Radford Drive overpass) and Waikele. The new contraflow lane will run approximately 7.2 miles.

“The time saved for commuters translates directly into an improved quality of life, as motorists can get home to their families faster and save money on gas,” said DOT Director Glenn Okimoto in a press release. “Every vehicle that uses the PM contraflow will be removed from the normal traffic lanes, reducing congestion and travel times overall.”

The project will be completed in phases, beginning with the repair of concrete sections in the innermost lanes of the Pearl City and Waimalu viaducts over an estimated period of 16 months, the state said. At the same time, the new barrier segments will be installed over a period of four months. Federal funds will cover 80-percent of the $82.1 million cost.

 Project completion is anticipated in late 2013.

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