New safety features implemented in time for the new school year

Posted on Aug 19, 2019 in Highways News, Main, News

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) reminds motorists the new school year is beginning and drivers are encouraged to plan ahead and adjust their commutes to Beat the School Jam. The University of Hawaii resumes August 26 with many public and private school students already back in the classroom.

The first week of school is historically busy in terms of traffic as parents and students formulate their commute, especially if it involves attending a new school. In an effort to help traffic conditions and ease the transition into the new school year, HDOT will suspend construction-related road closures on major state highways on Oahu from Aug. 26 – 30 between the hours of 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. During the daytime construction break, emergency closures, nighttime construction, and roadwork that does not involve lane closures may still be scheduled.

Drivers can help themselves by planning ahead. There are more resources to help drivers choose the best route than ever before. There are apps like, Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze, local media outlets and many others that can alert you to accidents, construction or traffic ahead.

“Spending a few seconds to look at a traffic app can save a lot of time. With that information people can choose the best route and decide if they need to leave earlier or adjust their plans,” said Gov. David Y. Ige. “Of course, drivers must check their phones before starting to drive.”

The up to the minute traffic mapping feature on will be extended to neighbor island roadways in HDOT jurisdiction in the near future. The roadway will be displayed in green (fast), yellow, red, or black (slow) to indicate travel speeds in an area to help motorists monitor congestion and plan their commute.

Pedestrian Safety Improvements
The start of the school year means many students will be walking or biking to school and drivers are reminded to slow down in school zones and watch for children crossing streets. HDOT has installed new raised pedestrian crosswalks in three school zones in time for the new school year.

“The raised crosswalks are designed to increase safety by changing the driving culture, especially in high pedestrian traffic areas,” said Deputy Director Ed Sniffen, Hawaii Department of Transportation Highways Division. “The features increase the visibility of pedestrians and slow drivers down to the speed limit when traveling through the area.”

The raised crosswalks have been installed on Kalihi Street near Kalakaua Intermediate, Kalihi Kai Elementary and Farrington High Schools; on Farrington Highway near Waianae High School and the Makaha Surfside complex; and on Fort Weaver Road near Ilima Intermediate, Pohakea Elementary and James Campbell High Schools. The locations have been selected based on our pedestrian and vehicle volume data, proximity to pedestrian attractors like schools, and community concerns. HDOT will continue to monitor the effectiveness and are planning their installation in additional areas to increase highway safety.

New Traffic Cameras
HDOT is pleased to offer four new traffic cameras on Kuhio Highway Route 560 on Kauai which are available for viewing on the website. The cameras show Kuhio Highway to help inform motorists of traffic conditions in the vicinity of the slope stabilization work near mile marker 1. There are cameras at Hanalei Bridge and the Bamboo Patch for the public to see conditions approaching the work site from Hanalei. There are additional cameras near Hanalei Plantation Road and the Princeville Shopping Center so the public can see traffic conditions approaching the work site from Princeville.

HDOT is modernizing traffic signal systems at all 82 existing signalized intersections on Maui to allow connectivity between signals and to set up a cloud-based Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS). The ATMS consists of controllers, a travel time system, cellular communications, conflict monitor units, and system monitors to enable HDOT to remotely optimize traffic signal timing on Maui.

The camera installation was completed this summer and can pan, tilt and zoom. They are for monitoring traffic conditions, not for traffic violations. The Maui cameras will be accessible on the website.

The traffic cameras have been installed at the following 10 intersections, with the exception of the Kuihelani/Puunene intersection which will have two cameras and currently has an intersection improvement project in construction.

  • Haleakala Hwy and Hana Hwy
  • Honoapiilani Hwy and North Kihei Road
  • Kuihelani Hwy and Puunene Avenue
  • Airport Access Road and Hana Hwy
  • Piilani Hwy and Piikea Street
  • Maui Veterans Hwy and North Kihei Road
  • Kaahumanu Avenue and Kahului Beach Road
  • Hana Hwy and Baldwin Avenue
  • Haleakala Hwy and Kula Hwy
  • Honoapiilani Hwy and Keawe Street

Oahu has 200 traffic cameras located around the island that can be seen on the website.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
HDOT is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and law enforcement agencies for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which runs from August 14 through September 2, 2019. The campaign coincides with the Labor Day holiday weekend, which is one of the deadliest times of the year in terms of drunk driving. During the 2017 Labor Day weekend there were 376 crash fatalities nationwide, of which 44 percent involved drivers who had been drinking. For more information regarding the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign please click here.

Vehicle crashes are the fastest and worst way to backup traffic, not only in the lanes it impacts, but the opposite direction as people rubberneck. Stalled vehicles blocking a lane can also create major congestion. Drivers need to make sure their car is in good working order by ensuring they have enough gas, their tires are not worn down, and their car is regularly maintained.

If drivers do have vehicle problems on the freeways, the Freeway Service Patrol is available to help by calling at 841- HELP (4357). The trained technicians can help tow vehicles to the nearest safe spot, provide a free gallon of gas, change a tire and much more. The FSP services are available on the H-1, H-2, and H-201 Moanalua Freeways weekdays (except holidays) from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. The link to FSP and its services is

Motorists should consider time and money saving options such as carpooling or vanpooling with friends or co-workers, taking public transportation like TheBus, biking to work or using Biki, or altering your work schedule and appointments around peak commute hours if possible.

HDOT Highways Program Status website
HDOT continues to post useful information on the Highways Program Status website which allows people to track current highways projects using interactive mapping technology. Available information includes project start date, percentage complete, estimated cost and completion date. Projects that are anticipated to begin within two years are listed under the future projects section. The program status website has additional information including pavement conditions, traffic counts for state roadways, bridge information, and information on fatal crashes including locations of the crash, contributing factors and vehicle type, throughout the state. The HDOT Highways Project Status Map can be found on under the “Current Spotlights” section.  A direct link can be found by clicking here.

The raised pedestrian crosswalk on Farrington Highway near Waianae High School. Photo courtesy HDOT or Hawaii Department of Transportation.

The raised pedestrian crosswalk on Farrington Highway near the Makaha Surfside complex. Photo courtesy HDOT or Hawaii Department of Transportation.

One of the five raised pedestrian crosswalks on Kalihi Street near Kalakaua Intermediate School. Photo courtesy HDOT or Hawaii Department of Transportation.

A pedestrian uses one of the five raised crosswalks on Kalihi Street that were installed in May 2019. Photo courtesy HDOT or Hawaii Department of Transportation.