Drivers to see relief from H-1 construction traffic

There is a bit of relief for Ewabound drivers in the Pearl City area next week.

The state won’t be shutting down as many lanes as it has been during the evenings.

This week the Department of Transportation is taking a break from construction.

It postponed work on the PM Contraflow project to mull over ways to alleviate the traffic the construction has been creating.

Every weeknight, Ewabound drivers are faced with this.

“It’s, you know, very difficult,” said Fred Mangca, driver.

“It’s pretty bad,” said another driver.

After last week’s mess on the roads because of two different projects, a bit of good news for drivers. Instead of closing down four lanes on the freeway when work resumes next week, the state will only shut down two lanes during the weeknights.

Officials say they had to close all four lanes for the type of work they were doing. They’re hoping next week’s change will help to ease the traffic, as they work to add another lane between Aiea and Waikele.

Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz shares his thoughts on whether the widening the H-1 by the Pearl City area will help alleviate traffic.

“Well, the Department has already widened sections of H-2 and H-1 already and we haven’t seen much relief,” said Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, (D) Wahiawa, Whitmore Village.

Sen. Dela Cruz says his office receives complaints about the traffic and believes the DOT isn’t looking at the big picture.

“The real solution is to create jobs in the areas where people live. So that way they don’t have to make the commute. They don’t have to drive into town everyday,” he said.

The PM Contraflow project also includes building an evening zipperlane in the Ewabound direction. It’s a portion of the project the state has been talking about and planning, for years. But now the zipperlane is up in the air.

The DOT says the installation of the PM Contraflow zipperlane will be re-evaluated after the new lanes are complete. That’s expected by the end of this year.

Officials say if the traffic flow improves from all the work they’re doing now, then they’ll hold off on building that evening zipperlane. That will save them $1 million a year in maintenance costs.

One solution could be an evening zipperlane.

“I think it would. It works in the morning, so it should work in the evenings,” Mangca said.

“Nah, you’re just taking up land,” another driver said.

Building a zipperlane is included in the project and the signed agreement with the contractor. The state does not know how much it will cost if plans are changed, but we’ll keep following up with them to see if taxpayers money, will be lost.

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