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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, May 23, 2003

Queen's may add ramps to H-1

By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer

Getting to and from the H-1 Freeway should be easier for eastbound drivers under a $2.5 million plan to tinker with on-ramps and off-ramps by The Queen's Medical Center.

Hospital officials want to build a freeway on-ramp from Lusitana Street that would connect to the existing eastbound Vineyard Boulevard on-ramp, said hospital spokeswoman Lynn Kenton.

The hospital also wants to create a loop off the Kina'u Street off-ramp that would take drivers back toward the hospital along Lusitana Street, Kenton said.

"It adds another entrance and exit to the area for traffic," Kenton said.

A busy area by any standard, the section of Lusitana Street situated by the proposed ramps runs between the hospital and a Queen's physicians office building.

The project requires approval by the state Department of Transportation and the Federal Highways Administration. An environmental assessment is being reviewed by those agencies, Kenton said. Once the assessment is approved, a final set of plans will be given to both agencies.

Construction could take six months, but no starting date is scheduled yet. No work will be done at night.

"We aren't going to do it at peak drive-time hours," Kenton said. "If there is a need, we will bring in people to direct traffic."

The city required the changes as a condition for allowing the hospital to build a new parking structure and emergency room entrance on Miller Street.

No state money will be used, but the additions are considered a good idea, said Ron Tsuzuki, head of planning and engineering for the transportation department's highways division.

"It gives the public more options," he said.

Reach Mike Gordon at mgordon@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8012.