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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 17, 2001

Drive Time
City adding mauka lane to Punchbowl

 •  Alternatives to the normal O'ahu drive
 •  Roadwork

By Scott Ishikawa
Advertiser Staff Writer

The city last month began the third phase of its Punchbowl Street work to improve traffic flow along the busy corridor.

The city is trying to ease traffic congestion through downtown Honolulu by creating a continuous mauka-bound traffic flow from Ala Moana to the H-1 Freeway.

The first phase of the project, completed in 1998, created a mauka-bound lane along Punchbowl between King and Beretania streets.

The second phase of Punchbowl construction, near the Queen's Medical Center from Beretania to Vineyard, is scheduled to end in July. That project is creating a left-turn lane for makai traffic on Punchbowl heading into Queen's.

As part of that planned construction, Queen's officials also completed their new Miller Street parking facility, which opened March 27.

Q. What is the latest work (third phase) on Punchbowl Street about?

A. A second mauka-bound lane will be added to Punchbowl Street from Vineyard Boulevard to Lusitana Street near Royal Elementary, where traffic will merge before heading onto the H-1 Freeway or Pali Highway.

Q. Why is the extra lane needed?

A. There is only one straight-ahead lane on Punchbowl Street heading mauka through the intersection of Vineyard Boulevard, along with dedicated left- and right-turn lanes.

Marvin Char of the city Department of Design and Construction said the dedicated right-turn lane also will become a second straight-ahead lane to allow more traffic to get through the intersection. Because of limited green-light timing for mauka-bound Punchbowl Street motorists, traffic tends to back up to Beretania Street during rush and lunch hours.

Q. What's the price tag and how long will construction last?

A. Char said the $1 million project is expected to be completed Nov. 27. The contractor is Rons Construction Corp.

Q. How will the Phase 3 road construction affect traffic?

A. Char said one Punchbowl Street lane will be shut down when construction begins, meaning only one lane of traffic will be open in each direction on weekdays.

The contractor is making property adjustments of about 12 feet from the original curb to make room for the additional lane.

Q. What's next?

A. The fourth and final phase of the Punchbowl Street project will create a lane for mauka-bound traffic from Ala Moana to King Street.