Kinau offramp project adds access to downtown


POSTED: Saturday, April 10, 2010

Work will begin April 26 on a $8.8 million highway project that will add a third lane to the H-1 Kinau Street offramp, allowing motorists to turn right to head downtown.

The project grew out of a 1999 agreement between the City Council and Queen's Medical Center. The hospital promised to pay for road improvements that would ease traffic congestion on Punchbowl Street, where Queen's wanted to build a five-story parking garage and entrance to its emergency room.

Les Chinen, Queen's Medical Center vice president for corporate development, said 80 percent of the improvements will be paid by the federal government with funds secured by U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye. Queen's will pay for the rest of the improvements to one of the busiest offramps on Oahu.

;[Preview]  Residents prepare for Kinau off ramp expansion

The Kinau off ramp expansion is hoping to ease a bottleneck and make it easier for some to get downtown.


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Chinen said the improvements “;will provide another access point to the hospital rather than just the Pali Highway and Punchbowl Street offramps.”;

He said construction will take a year, with no weekend or night work planned.

There will be at least one lane from the H-1 kept open throughout the construction period, which will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The third right-turn lane will be built on the makai side of the Kinau offramp.

Art Ushijima, the Queen's Medical Center president, said through a written statement: “;We apologize to our neighbors for any temporary inconvenience this construction project will cause. However, we believe that in the long term, the Ward area and our entire island community will benefit by having another route to our emergency department and hospital.”;

He added: “;In a life-and-death situation, every second counts,”; and “;patients requiring immediate care need quick and ready access to our ER. The more routes available, the probability of a good outcome or even survival greatly improves.”;


To get to Queen's from the H-1 freeway, motorists now have to exit on Punchbowl Street and drive back around on King Street to South Street to Lusitana Street, or exit on Kinau and turn on Ward Avenue to Beretania Street, then make a right on Punchbowl street to get to Queen's.

With the Kinau offramp right-turn lane, motorists will be able to use Kinau Street to get to Lusitana Street.

State Transportation Director Brennon Morioka said these improvements will provide more choices for motorists and an alternate downtown route.

Chinen said there will be a loss of nine parking stalls on Kinau Street in front of the 12-story Royal Kinau condominium. Okada Trucking has been contracted for this project, which should be completed next year.