HONOLULU – Governor Linda Lingle has released $1,006,700 to prepare and process an environmental assessment and obtain consultant services for the Middle Street Merge widening project on the H-1 Freeway.
This project is in addition to the $1.8 billion public infrastructure construction plan unveiled by Governor Lingle in December 2008 to stimulate the economy and create jobs.
“Despite the Legislature’s failure to pass the Highways Modernization Plan this session, the Department of Transportation remains committed to moving forwarding with key projects that will save motorists time and money,” said Governor Lingle. “Once completed, this project will relieve congestion at one of O‘ahu’s most notorious traffic bottlenecks and reduce commute times significantly.”
Currently, cars exiting the Middle Street tunnel must merge onto the H-1, which creates an extreme bottleneck as cars traveling eastbound on the H-1 slow down to allow the incoming traffic.
This project will increase traffic capacity through the Middle Street merge and Vineyard Boulevard by adding a fourth continuous lane, eliminating the need to merge. The additional lane will also add a second exit lane to the Vineyard Street off-ramp.
The total project cost is estimated to be $100 million. Eighty percent of the project will be federally funded, and the remaining 20 percent will be state-funded.
The environmental assessment is expected to be completed this summer. Following the design phase, which will take about a year, the Department of Transportation is scheduled to advertise the project to bidders in August 2010. Construction is estimated to begin in early 2011 and be completed in 2013.