More lanes planned on H-1 Freeway to ease Leeward, West Oahu traffic

More relief is planned for drivers who sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic almost every day.

Another lane will be added to the H-1 Freeway, in both directions, from Waiawa to Kunia.

“Certainly there is going to be projected growth, but keep in mind that plans that have been approved are only for the first phase of the project,” said Tim Sakahara, state Department of Transportation spokesman.

The state is requiring that developer D.R. Horton add the lanes as it builds its new development in Kapolei.

“They will have to pay and provide the improvements necessary for all the folks over on that Leeward side,” Sakahara said.

This is the latest effort to improve traffic for commuters in one of the worst areas, where it’s estimated that 2,000 cars travel in each lane per hour.

Last October, the Department of Transportation opened a new ewa-bound lane near Pearl City, and also began allowing drivers to use the shoulder lane in Aiea for their evening commute home.

Many drivers we talked to believe the new lanes have helped.

“The DOT is also studying improvements to make an additional lane coming eastbound, kind of like what we did on the westbound lane, but do it on the eastbound,” Sakahara said.

The state is now taking a look at how to best alleviate the traffic heading into town. One possibility is adding a lane from Waiawa or the H-1/H-2 Merge to Pearl City. But that could take years, since the DOT would need to do an environmental study, and also, find the money to expand the freeway.

“Certainly any improvements that we could make are going to make an impact on the drivers and the commuters,” Sakahara said.

D.R. Horton plans to break ground on its new development later this year, and the state said the developer must add the new lanes once it builds 5,000 homes.

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