New lane at Liliha onramp to ease congestion
Officials hope the lane will cut bottlenecking where the roadway merges with H-1
Starting today, eastbound motorists could see less traffic backup at the Liliha onramp, where an extra lane has been added for easier exiting and entering the H-1 freeway or continuing to the Pali Highway offramp.
Crew members of the state Department of Transportation were to re-stripe three eastbound lanes to make room for a fourth lane between the Liliha Street onramp and the Pali Highway offramp.
Work to narrow the width of the lanes to 11 feet from 12 feet was to go from 9 p.m. yesterday to 4 a.m. today. The Department of Transportation was to do the reconfiguration work in-house at an estimated cost of $25,000.
The project is being done to reduce bottlenecking as motorists merge onto the right eastbound lane of the H-1 freeway from the Liliha Street onramp.
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Eastbound traffic came off the Liliha Street onramp yesterday and merged with H-1 freeway traffic. This area is to be re-striped to add an additional lane to the Pali Highway offramp to try to alleviate bottlenecking.
A number of drivers use the Liliha onramp as a shortcut to the Pali offramp, according to transportation officials. Bottlenecking occurs when drivers merge onto the right eastbound lane from the Liliha onramp and then onto the Pali offramp about a quarter-mile away. Many drivers also use the same lane to head to the Punchbowl and Kinau Street offramps.
State transportation officials received approval from federal highway officials about a year ago for a variance to slightly reduce the width of the three eastbound lanes to create space for the extra lane.
State Transportation Director Rod Haraga said the shoulder lane between the ramps was to be used for the extra lane.
In the past couple of years, transportation officials have done similar projects to ease traffic congestion in other parts of Oahu such as the Nimitz Highway contra-flow lane, Lunalilo Street onramp and extension of the Zipperlane, said Scott Ishikawa, spokesman for the Department of Transportation.
Haraga recommended that motorists use caution as drivers adjust to the new configuration. The new lane is expected to shave five to 10 minutes off travel time for motorists during afternoon rush hour.
"This is a project long in coming," Haraga said yesterday at a news briefing, noting that the former administration had discussed the need to alleviate bottlenecking in Liliha.
State transportation officials are expected to observe traffic flow of the new lane today.