CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
This part of the H-1 freeway by Kapolei will be closed for about six months starting this weekend, and traffic diverted onto bypasses to allow crews to work on North-South Road.
North-South work to divert traffic
Closure of the H-1 between Kunia and Makakilo is expected to last for six months
STORY SUMMARY »
You'll have to slow down a bit and won't be able to change lanes, but the state is hoping to make your commute on the H-1 freeway between Kunia and Makakilo as painless as possible.
Transportation officials are ready to close that freeway stretch for six months as contractors construct bridges to go over the planned North-South Road.
Starting this weekend, motorists driving in both directions will be diverted to three-lane bypasses so a new "diamond" interchange can be constructed on the H-1 freeway to connect to Farrington Highway.
FULL STORY »
Thousands of motorists will be diverted onto bypasses on the H-1 freeway starting this weekend to allow contractors to continue work on the long-awaited North-South Road.
Motorist will see a big change on the H-1 freeway in West O'ahu as crews build a new freeway interchange.
Electronic signs have been updated to inform motorists about the bypasses during the closure of the mile-long stretch of the freeway between Kunia and Makakilo.
The closure of the freeway is expected to last about six months while contractors of Kiewit Pacific Co. rebuild an H-1 bridge under which work will be done on the six-lane North-South Road.
"We want to make sure that we have the least amount of traffic impact as possible while crews are working on constructing that bridge," said Tammy Mori, spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation, during a site visit yesterday.
About 105,800 motorists travel on the freeway daily, according to the latest state figures.
At about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Honolulu-bound traffic will be diverted to a three-lane eastbound bypass. At about 6:30 p.m. the following day, Waianae-bound traffic will be diverted to the three-lane westbound bypass.
H-1 FREEWAY Bypasses
Facts about the H-1 freeway bypasses to allow bridge construction over the planned North-South Road:
» Each bypass section is 4,500 feet.
» No lane changes will be allowed.
» Speed limit is 50 mph.
Source: State Department of Transportation
Each bypass section, bordered by concrete barriers, has the same number of lanes as the freeway. One lane on the bypass route in both directions is 12 feet wide, while the other two lanes are about 11 feet. A freeway lane is about 11 1/2 feet.
Lane changes will not be allowed on the bypasses. The speed limit will drop to 50 mph, compared with the posted 60 mph speed limit in that section of the freeway. Drivers, however, already have adjusted to the 50 mph speed limit that was posted in the area since construction began on the North-South Road project in September, Mori said.
State transportation officials do not expect a major impact on traffic during the transition, but anticipate a gradual adjustment for motorists.
"It might take a while for drivers to get used to this change, but we expect it to move pretty smoothly once they get used to the change," Mori said. Motorists are asked to use caution as they go from the freeway onto the bypass.
The route is part of the third phase of the North-South Road construction project. The roadway will connect Kapolei Parkway, Farrington Highway and the H-1 freeway, giving congestion-weary motorists another way to get onto the freeway.
[ click here to enlarge image ]
The entire $143 million project is expected to be done in January 2010.
A diamond-shaped interchange will be constructed on the H-1 freeway to connect to Farrington Highway. Cost is estimated at $60 million. The bypasses will be integrated into interchange ramps. North-South Road is expected to "tie into" Palehua Road on the north side of the freeway, Mori said.
The first phase of the project was completed in November, in which a 0.8-mile four-lane segment was built between Farrington Highway and Kapolei Parkway. Cost was estimated at $17 million.
The second phase is currently under way, with workers constructing a connection of the first phase to Farrington Highway and Kapolei Parkway. Cost was estimated at $66 million.