The first night of the H-1 freeway rehabilitation project did not create a traffic nightmare for overnight commuters, a Department of Transportation spokeswoman said.
Road work closed all Koko Head-bound lanes of the freeway from Likelike Highway to Ward Avenue from 8 p.m. Sunday until the lanes reopened at 4 a.m. today.
All Koko Head lanes will again be closed tonight during the same time period.
“It seems like people got the word, said DOT spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter.
Sluyter said there were no major problems reported from the overnight closure.
But she said the public should not get complacent.
“As the week goes on the traffic volume increases, she said.
The only back-up Sunday night happened at Likelike Highway when drivers coming from the Moanalua Freeway were directed off the freeway onto School Street.
Sluyter said School Street couldn’t handle the traffic volume.
Sluyter said the DOT recommends Moanalua Freeway drivers exit at Red Hill and get on the airport viaduct to Dillingham or Middle streets.
Drivers can also exit at Fort Shafter/North King Street, but the city has construction on King Street, she said.
After tonight’s shutdown, one lane of the freeway will remain open overnight starting Tuesday through Thursday. The state will close one Koko Head-bound lane at 9 p.m. through 4 a.m. and a second lane from 11 p.m. through 3 a.m., when traffic is lightest.
Starting next Sunday night through Friday morning, road crews will close a freeway lane in both directions at 9 p.m., then close an additional lane at 11 p.m., leaving one lane open in each direction until just before the morning rush hour begins.
“We appreciate the public’s patience and understanding,” Sluyter said.
The yearlong maintenance project is necessary because the freeway lanes between Middle Street and Ward Avenue haven’t been repaved in about 15 years.
“In the end, it (the freeway) will be better,” Sluyter said.