Graduations, roadwork could create traffic jams

A perfect storm of roadwork and events could cause a lot of headaches on Oahu’s main roadways.

Traffic jams are especially likely over the next few nights as many West Oahu residents head toward town for graduations.

H-1 Freeway – Vineyard/Pali/Likelike

All east-bound lanes of the H-1 Freeway will be closed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. from the Likelike Hwy. off-ramp to the Pali Hwy. on-ramp.The Middle St. tunnel will be closed from the airport viaduct. Drivers will be directed to use alternate routes on either Dillingham Blvd. or Nimitz Hwy.

In the west-bound direction, two right lanes will be closed between the Vineyard Blvd. off-ramp and the Palama St. off-ramp. There will be no ramp closures in the west-bound direction.

Lane closures occur from Sunday evening to Friday morning.

H-1 Freeway – Pearl City/Waimalu

H-1 Freeway west-bound lanes, from the Pearl City/Waimalu to Waipahu off-ramps, will also experience closures starting Tuesday for deck widening.

Three right lanes will be closed starting 7:30 p.m., and at 10:30 p.m., a fourth additional lane will be closed.

The lane closures will continue Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

All lanes will reopen 4:30 a.m. each day.

Kamehameha Highway

The Honolulu Rail Transit project will be closing two west-bound lanes and one east-bound lane along Kamehameha Hwy. between Kuleana Rd. and Kuala St.

The closures will be in effect from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily, Tuesday through Friday, for utility relocation and excavation work.

West-bound motorists can use Moanalua Rd. as an alternate route.

Waipahu High School holds its graduation at the Blaisdell Tuesday and Wednesday nights while Campbell High School will have its ceremony at Aloha Stadium.

Families heading back home after the events will be faced with multiple projects.

Those heading in the Ewa direction in the evenings this week will encounter the H-1 Rehab project.

Two right lanes of the H-1 Freeway will be closed from the Vineyard Blvd. off-ramp to the Palama St. off-ramp beginning at 8 p.m.

Keep on driving and you’ll hit another roadblock. At 7:30 p.m., three right lanes will be shut down between the Pearl City and Waipahu off-ramps.

A fourth lane will be closed at 10:30 p.m.

For drivers looking to take a detour on Kamehameha Hwy., “there’s been ongoing overnight lane closures as we do utility relocation work and that’s to clear the way so we can build the columns or the rail guideways,” said Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation spokesperson Scott Ishikawa.

At 8 p.m., HART is scheduled to close two Ewa-bound lanes of Kamehameha Hwy. in Pearl City.

That’s three projects in the same direction at the same time.

“I think that’s poor timing,” said Waianae resident Jacob Cox. “It’s too many projects in one area at one time.”

“We do try to adjust our schedule while working with (Hawaii Dept. of Transportation),” Ishikawa said. “Sometimes we may delay closing a lane or two.”

HART officials will monitor the traffic and, if the roads are clogged, could close one of the two lanes later in the evening.

The state advises drivers to take Moanalua Rd. as an alternate route.

“We do work with the state. When the state did work on the freeway a couple months ago overnight, they asked us to hold off work on Nimitz Hwy.,” Ishikawa said.

And it’s not just west-bound drivers who will face roadblocks.

A complete H-1 Freeway shutdown for town-bound drivers will be in effect from Middle St. to Ward Ave. starting at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

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