Lane closures for more than two
hours snarl afternoon commutes
Rush-hour motorists were mired in traffic for hours yesterday evening after a fatal accident on H-1 near the Waimalu-Pearl City offramp shut Ewa-bound lanes.
A 52-year-old Pearl City woman died in the three-car accident at about 1:30 p.m. The woman, who was driving a 1993 Toyota Camry, was speeding, according to police. There were no other injuries.
Police did not identify the woman.
Police shut down the Ewa-bound lanes of the freeway from just before the Waimalu-Pearl City offramp from about 2 to 4:40 p.m. The left lane was opened to allow vehicles in a pocket of the freeway to exit the area.
The closure backed up traffic as far as Waikiki.
"It was so bad we saw people using the bathroom on the freeway," said Jason Yotsuda, traffic reporter for KSSK radio at the city's Traffic Management Center.
Traffic was still severely backed up nearly two hours after the highway reopened.
Cars stacked up on Ala Moana all the way to Waikiki, Yotsuda said. Salt Lake Boulevard, North Beretania Street and Dillingham Boulevard were also clogged.
One bus rider clocked his ride from Alapai (downtown) to Dillingham, a few miles away, at two hours, Yotsuda said.
Even police got stuck in traffic.
It took Officer Steve Lin 25 minutes to get from Makiki to the main station on South Beretania Street, normally a five-minute drive.
"It's just crazy everywhere," Lin said. "It's pretty much gridlocked everywhere."