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Wednesday, February 21, 2001

Punahou off-ramp
will be widened; extra
right-turn lane will
head makai

By Harold Morse

Punahou off-ramp expansion begins next month, and the $2.7 million job will take an estimated nine months.

It will widen the offramp from one exit to two exit lanes, including an additional right-turn lane for motorists turning makai, said Martin Okabe, Oahu engineering program manager, state Department of Transportation.

He told about 50 residents at a briefing at Central Union Church Youth Center last night this construction may force single-lane closings during Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. construction hours on the eastbound Ward Avenue and Piikoi Street onramps.

A barrier on the existing edge of the Punahou offramp will permit work to go on makai of the existing pavement, he said.

Some present doubted a second right-turn lane would provide relief for motorists coming off H-1 eastbound who need to get in the far-left lane of Punahou Street to cross Beretania Street a block makai. Motorists in the two right-most lanes of makai-bound Punahou are forced to turn right on Beretania, residents said.

A bottleneck exists for motorists who need to get in the far-left lane as they must merge with Punahou traffic from the Wilder Avenue side, they said.

Some wanted Punahou off-ramp construction sped up to take less than nine months and objected to dust the work will produce. They were assured the site will be watered down to minimize dust.

Cheryl Soon, city transportation services director, also present, acknowledged traffic delays at some intersections near H-1 resulted from seemingly uncoordinated traffic signals.

"We have been rearranging the synchronization and the timing of lights," she said. "Most of our signal times have been very much thrown off by the construction jobs."

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