Ways to get around H-1 Freeway closures

While KHON2 reported this earlier this week, this is a reminder. Thursday is the night when the state closes a stretch of the H-1 Freeway in both directions.

KHON 2 drove west-bound on the H-1 on that stretch from Ward Avenue to the off-ramp to the Likelike Highway and on Wednesday (a holiday) the drive took just under four minutes while cruising at the speed limit.

But that will change beginning Thursday night. The State is in its final phase of rehabilitation work on the H-1, and this will be a major one. On that stretch between Ward and Likelike, the state will close the road in both directions, Sunday nights through Friday mornings from June 12 through June 26. The hours of closure will be from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The cab companies are on alert. They are telling their customers to plan well in advance of the closures, because the road work can make it complicated to get to their destinations. The Cab company told KHON 2 news it might be a good idea to allow four hours if you live in Hawaii Kai, and you need to catch a flight out from Honolulu International Airport.

A veteran driver with The Cab, Larry Schmaus, who doubles as a supervisor, told KHON 2 news that if a fare in Hawaii Kai wanted to get to the airport “the best way is to get off the freeway at the Kapiolani Boulevard off-ramp, which will take you to Beretania Street. From there, go on to South Street, take a left, and get on to Nimitz Highway.”

But the traffic congestion will make that cab ride pricier. The average cost of a cab ride from Hawaii Kai to the airport is around $60. If there is traffic congestion, and since the cab meters price fares based on time and distance, that cab ride could easily cost twice as much. The same for a ride from Waikiki to the airport, it could double from $40 to $80.

An alternate route from town west-bound is Ala Moana Boulevard – then on to Nimitz Highway. There will also be construction work on the boulevard that will result in some lane closures on stretches of the boulevard. One stretch is between Kamakee and Queen Streets. The next is from Punchbowl and Richard Streets. And the third stretch on Ala Moana is between South and Bishop Streets. The work involves either utility installations or manhole inspections. Motorists can expect congestion on the boulevard west-bound as early as 8 p.m. Thursday night to as late as 4:30 the next morning.

“I don’t know why they are doing both at the same time, because Ala Moana is usually an alternate route,” said Schmaus. “It does not make sense.”

With the shutdown on the H-1 and a few lane closures on Ala Moana Boulevard, motorists are bracing or braking for what is to come.

“I get off work at 9 o’clock,” said Jay Ekimoto. “Either I’m going to sit in traffic for an hour and a half. Or I’m going to stay in town until some ridiculous time, and drive back.”

“It will make it tough,” said Jeremy Shorenstein. “I don’t know – two weeks? But, it’s got to be done, it’s got to be done.”

If you’re stuck in traffic, Schmaus, who has driven for The Cab for ten years, has this advice: “Put on some music – and relax.”

There will be a full moon on Thursday night.


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