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H-3 freeway eyed as site for COVID-19 surge testing next week

The H-3 freeway could be fully closed between Halawa Interchange and the Halekou Interchange to accommodate a COVID-19 surge testing location on Oahu, the state Department of Transportation reported today.

The City and County of Honolulu will be partnering with the state to to facilitate COVID-19 testing on Tuesday and Thursday next week.

The closure, which the HDOT said would have to be coordinated with the federal government, would close the freeway in both directions and would begin at 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. on both days.

The inside lanes of the freeway at the Harano Tunnels would be used to queue vehicles with those waiting for a COVID-19 test, while the outer lanes would be used for emergency access.

Test stations would be set up on both the Kaneohe and Halawa sides of the tunnels to provide tests for both the north and south bound directions.

“Testing on the H-3 is a historic, first ever endeavor that will make a significant difference in getting more people tested,” Mayor Kirk Caldwell said in a statement. “This will be made possible by all of our Federal, State, and County teams working together to make sure traffic in and out of these sites can flow smoothly. It’s not a small task to coordinate these sites, and I want to thank our partners at HDOT for clearing a path for as many of our residents as possible to get tested for COVID-19.”

As many as 70,000 tests could be administered in the next two weeks, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said. Testing began Wednesday, although the long wait times were frustrating to some.

Aloha Stadium has been cited as another potential location for surge testing.

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