Update 3:55 p.m.
Transportation officials instituted a traffic mitigation plan for Kalanianaole Highway eastbound at the end of the H-1 freeway.
The plan includes:
>> Two non-traditional lanes on Kalanianaole Highway eastbound at 2:15 p.m. were opened using cones.
>> There will be no left turn onto Ainakoa Avenue from Kalanianaole Highway eastbound.
>> There will be no right turn onto Waikui Street from Kalanianaole Highway eastbound. Residents of the area can turn right on Waieli Street
>> No pedestrians are allowed to cross at the intersection of Kalanianaole Highway and Ainakoa Avenue in either direction.
Update 2:28 p.m.
A second eastbound lane has been opened on Kalanianaole Highway near the end of the H-1 freeway, Honolulu Police said.
Update 8:47 a.m.
Officials plan to open an additional eastbound lane on Kalanianaole Highway where it meets the end of H-1 freeway by 3 p.m. today to help relieve traffic congestion as Honolulu Board of Water Supply crews continue to repair a broken water main.
Only one eastbound lane is open as crews work to replace a section of a 24-inch transmission water main that ruptured early Saturday. Ernest Lau, manager and chief engineer of the Board of Water Supply, said this morning, “By this afternoon, before rush hour, we hope to have a second lane open for the community.”
Crews have been working non-stop since the water main broke Saturday. “This water main break is a difficult one to repair,” Lau said at the site this morning. “The pipe goes as deep as 16- to 18-feet deep.”
The pipe, which is made of cast iron, was installed in 1969. “Unfortunately it broke probably over the worst place it could break,” he added.
Repairs are expected to be completed by Thursday. “But we’re working very hard to try to accomplish that even earlier.” Lau said.
Tim Sakahara, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said the department is halting road projects on Kalanianaole Highway in Waimanalo to allow motorists to have an alternate route to Hawaii Kai until water main repairs are completed.
Honolulu motorists whose commute includes the east end of H-1 and the adjoining Kalanianaole Highway should plan detours when heading home this week, as workers are expected to be repairing a broken water main until Thursday.
Kathleen Pahinui, spokeswoman for the city Board of Water Supply, said work on the broken water main at the eastern end of the H-1 freeway will last longer than expected due to interference from an abandoned line.
“Unfortunately, this repair is going to take longer than we anticipated,” she said. “There was an abandoned main on the top of the main that broke. Because of that we had to cut through the abandoned line, and we still have some excavation we have to do, unfortunately. It’s just a big one. … We’re estimating repairs to be done by Thursday.”
The broken 24-inch transmission line, on Kalanianaole Highway between Kilauea Avenue and Waikui Street, caused gridlock Saturday. At some points during the day, eastbound lanes of the H-1 were backed up for miles.
Pahinui said a second lane should be open to motorists before this morning. Repair work originally had two of the three lanes closed, with only one eastbound lane open to traffic.
“We are adding in a second lane, so there will be at least two lanes going eastbound,” she said.
Pahinui said Board of Water Supply officials met with the state Department of Transportation for a plan of action. If necessary, Pahinui said, the Board of Water Supply will ask the Honolulu Police Department to help monitor the traffic during the evening commute.
Pahinui said the team is still excavating to expose the 20-feet-deep main.
“We have to dig down to expose the pipe,” she said. “What we normally do is we cut it out and weld a new section.”
Pahinui asked commuters to adjust their schedules to help clear up the road over the next week.
“If you don’t have to go through the area in the afternoon, adjust your schedule accordingly over the next few days until we are able to get it finished,” she said.
During Saturday’s traffic jam a normally 20-minute midday trip from downtown to Kaimuki took one motorist about 75 minutes.
Hawaii Kai resident Celise Nakakura said her family stayed home most of the day Sunday after experiencing the traffic Saturday night.
“With all that stress and aggravation that we saw yesterday, we intentionally stayed home in Hawaii Kai the rest of the day,” she said.