Guest editorial-Hawaii Reporter
HOT Lanes Will Relieve Honolulu's H-1 Freeway Congestion, Rail Won't
By Ben Ramelb, 7/29/2008 10:56:08 AM
The people of West and Central Oahu want traffic relief on the state-owned H-1 freeway during morning and afternoon peak hour traffic. The city’s 2006 Alternative Analysis shows that Rail will not provide traffic relief.
The known traffic bottlenecks are at the H-1/H-2 merge and at the Middle Street merge. Since the highways outside of downtown Honolulu are state-owned, Governor Lingle should take the lead to provide traffic relief by building a new elevated three-lane reversible High Occupancy Toll (HOT) transit way to bypass the bottlenecks from Pearl City to downtown Honolulu for a cost of $900 million. (Tampa built a similar 10 mile HOT for $320 million in 2005). Fed highway funds FHWA would probably pay greater than 50 percent of the total cost.
University of Hawaii Professor Panos Prevedouros published a study in June 2008 “Transportation Alternative Analysis for Mitigating Traffic Congestion between Leeward Oahu and Honolulu” which shows that HOT could be built starting from the H-1/H-2 merge, routed over the Kamehameha Hwy median to Pearl Harbor, alongside (mauka) of the Airport Viaduct and then over the Nimitz Hwy median to Iwilei ending with a bus flyover to Hotel Street and an underpass for non-buses from Nimitz to Alakea Street.
All traffic will use the 4-lane one-way King Streets and Beretania Streets (a couplet) beyond to Ala Moana Shopping Center, U.H Manoa, or Waikiki. Intermediate on/off ramps from the HOT would be provided to allow access to major job centers in Pearl City, Aiea, Pearl Harbor/Hickam, Airport and Kalihi.
If HOT is built by the state, it will make the Rail Transit and it’s $6.0 Billion construction cost totally unnecessary.
Ben Ramelb P.E.,