Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

H-3 restricts U-turns
mainly due to safety

Question: We're coming from Kaneohe on the H-3 going into town. We forget something at home. We have to drive all the way into town to "turn around" to go back to Kaneohe. It's the same situation coming from Honolulu to Kaneohe. Why is the turn-around area on the H-3 blocked off? When we did stop once to see if this was a possibility, we were told to leave immediately. When you go through the Wilson Tunnel, there is a turnaround that is not patrolled. Is it because the H-3 is a federally funded freeway?

Answer: It's because it's a high-speed interstate freeway, which is federally funded.

We had a similar complaint a few years ago and was told by the state Department of Transportation that once you get on the H-3, there's no turning back primarily because of safety.

"Another reason is the design of the H-3, in which the freeway is raised up, which separates traffic going in the opposite direction," transportation spokesman Scott Ishikawa further explained recently.

U-turns also are restricted on the H-1 and H-2 freeways, but because of all the offramps, that's obviously not an issue on those interstates.

"We've had accidents over the years where drivers would use the open grass medians of our freeways to make U-turns," Ishikawa said. "That is another reason for landscaped medians: to discourage illegal U-turns whenever possible. Oncoming vehicles at freeway speeds are simply harder to judge."

Meanwhile, there are no scenic stopping points on the H-3, not only because of safety issues related to the high speeds, but also because they would have been too costly to build. Because the H-3 is built on viaducts, long on- and offramps would have to be built to any lookout.

Q: In the March 27, 2003, Kokua Line regarding guidelines on the license plate letter series, it was stated by the city Motor Vehicle & Licensing Division that they do not use I, O or Z, because they could be mistaken as 1, zero or 2. So why is it then that we continue to see Z used on license plates?

A: "Misinformation" about the non-use of the letter Z was given, apologized an official with the city Motor Vehicle & Licensing Division.

As you noted, the letter Z is allowed and issued, with no apparent problems.


I take the Kinau Street exit on the H-1 freeway on a regular basis and have noticed that all the lines dividing the street have all but disappeared. And, when it rains, they are completely gone. Traffic still manages to pass without a problem but I still think they need to re-stripe the road. -- No Name

The state Department of Transportation's jurisdiction on the offramp ends just about at the stop sign in the area, where Kinau Street begins straightening out.

We passed your observations on to the city Department of Customer Services. You can report such problems or complaints directly to the department, either via e-mail, at fixit@co.honolulu.hi.us, or by calling 523-4381.


See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered.
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