Saturday, December 2, 2023
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Tuesday, January 13, 2009
H-1 Traffic relief for O`ahu
By News Release @ 12:13 PM :: 3952 Views

Afternoon Contraflow Lane and Widened Middle Street Merge to Significantly Improve H-1 Traffic Flow


RELATED: Panos Prevoudouros describes UH research efforts which led to proposals

HONOLULU — Governor Linda Lingle, Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, Rep. Marilyn Lee and the state Department of Transportation (DOT) unveiled two major initiatives today aimed at easing traffic congestion along the most heavily traveled corridor in the state. 
“Traffic congestion has a significant impact on the lives of our residents as well as our overall economy,” said Governor Lingle.  “My Administration is committed to continuing to work with the Legislature, our federal and county partners, the private sector and the community to develop transportation solutions that will ultimately improve the quality of life in Hawai‘i by allowing residents to spend less time in traffic and more time at home with their families.”
PM Contraflow
The first project focuses on improving the westbound afternoon rush hour commute on the H-1 Freeway from Honolulu to Central and Leeward O‘ahu by adding a 6.2-mile contraflow lane starting at the Radford Drive overpass and ending at the Waiawa Interchange (H1-H-2 merge).  The PM Contraflow Lane is expected to increase westbound capacity by about 17 percent during the afternoon rush hour commute, which translates to a five- to 10-minute reduction in average commutes.
The DOT will establish permanent contraflow lanes on both sides of the existing center median by installing concrete barriers to separate traffic, similar to what is used now for the Zipperlane.  Both lanes will head townbound in the morning and both will be reversed in the afternoon rush hour to accommodate ‘Ewa-bound traffic.  During non-rush hour, the two lanes will revert back to their original direction. 
“Based on the success of the Zipper lane during the morning rush hour, we wanted to offer that same kind of relief to drivers for their afternoon commute,” said Brennon Morioka, director of the state Department of Transportation. 
Gates will be installed along the route to allow emergency vehicle access.  In addition, in times of civil defense emergencies, the entire highway can be contraflowed to facilitate evacuation.
By installing permanent concrete barriers, the DOT will eliminate the need for the Zipmobile, which will save approximately $1 million per year in operating costs.
This $40 million contraflow project will be ready to go out to bid in July 2009.  The State anticipates to begin construction in early 2010.  Eighty percent of the project will be funded federally and the remaining 20 percent will be state-funded.
The PM Contraflow is one of the 1,521 public construction projects included in the State’s $1.8 billion capital improvement plan unveiled last month by the Governor, legislative leaders, county mayors, the construction industry and labor unions to stimulate the economy and create jobs.
As part of the PM Contraflow project, another phase will strengthen the shoulder pavement between Waiawa and the Waikele off-ramp to be able to use the shoulder as a travel lane during the contra-flow operations.  This phase of the work is estimated to cost $15 million.  The DOT plans to coordinate the timing of the Waiawa-Waikele project to overlap with the construction of the PM Contraflow.
The Waiawa-Waikele phase of the project has been budgeted and approved by the Legislature.  The PM Contraflow is in the current capital improvement project budget request.
Widened Middle Street Merge
The second project unveiled today is intended to improve traffic flow on the H-1 freeway by widening the Middle Street merge, which would benefit commuters at all times of the day.  Currently, cars exiting the Middle Street tunnel must merge onto the H-1, which creates a bottleneck as cars traveling eastbound on the H-1 slow down to allow the incoming traffic.
This project would increase traffic capacity through Middle Street merge and Vineyard Boulevard by adding a fourth continuous lane, eliminating the need to merge.  The additional lane would also add a second exit lane to the Vineyard Street off-ramp.
“The impact of eliminating this notorious traffic bottleneck will be dramatic,” said Morioka.  “Based on our traffic studies in 2006, the Middle Street Merge area increases travel time by up to 20 minutes during rush hour periods.  The extra lane will reduce commute time significantly,” said Morioka.
The cost for this project is estimated at $100 million.  Eighty percent of the project will be funded federally, and the remaining 20 percent will be state-funded. An environmental assessment is expected to be completed by August of 2010 and construction is slated to begin early 2011.
“O‘ahu residents have been waiting a long time for projects like these to help ease traffic congestion,” said Governor Lingle.  “Now is the time to invest in these important infrastructure improvements, which in the short-term will stimulate our economy and create jobs and in the long-term will help position our state for future growth.”  

RELATED:  Star Bulletin coverage, Advertiser coverage


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Moms for Liberty

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii