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HPD issued 65 tickets to motorists stuck in Tuesday’s gridlock

    The H-1 freeway was jammed with westbound rush hour traffic Tuesday evening as the zipper lane could not be closed.


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Honolulu police issued 65 tickets for illegally using cell phones and other electronic devices Tuesday during the height of the traffic standstill touched off by H-1’s ZipMobile troubles.

The tickets were handed out during a pre-planned traffic enforcement action in Pearl City, Honolulu Police Department officials said Wednesday.

Capt. Darren Izumo of the HPD Traffic Division said the tickets were issued in the vicinity of Waimano Home Road between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Izumo said that once officers were informed that the traffic situation had been worsened by the loss of westbound freeway lanes, officers stopped citing violators.

Tuesday’s traffic troubles began while the ZipMobile was closing the town-bound ZipperLane at 8:30 a.m. in the Waikele area.

Then at 9:30 a.m. the ZipMobile stopped functioning. Technicians swapped out a battery pack from the state’s other ZipMobile, but the replacement battery pack also failed. By the time the disabled ZipMobile was towed away at 3 p.m., motorists were contending with widespread gridlock.

The ZipperLane normally increases H-1’s capacity by an additional 2,200 vehicles — or 25 percent — every hour during the morning commute, according to the state Department of Transportation. An estimated 4,600 vehicles use the H-1 ZipperLane on weekdays.

A total of about five other tickets for electronic devices were issued on Oahu on Tuesday, HPD officials said.

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