4.3 What"s this I hearabout a curse on Interstate H-3?Ah, yes, the famous H-3 "hewa" (pronounced "heva"), said by somenative Hawaiians to explain some odd and otherwise inexplicable incidentsduring the construction of H-3 through the Halawa Valley (to which theyobjected because of the valley"s religious and cultural significance),which fortunately caused only property damage and no injuries or fatalities.However, as far as I know, the "hewa" is not an issue for travelers nowthat the freeway is open. For more details, see thebrief discussion on this topic near the end of the Interstate H-3 roadphotos page.
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4.4 Was the Hawaii Superferry part of the Interstate highway system?No. The old logo for the former Hawaii Superferry interisland auto ferry system did look rather like an Interstate H-4 shield, as if the ferries would be an extension of the Interstate highway network on Oahu to reach several of Hawaii"s other major islands. However, the shield was not quite the same as a regular Interstate shield (for example, "Interstate" was replaced with "Interisland", and "Hawaii Superferry" appeared in place of the state name). Moreover, the ferry system was privately-owned and operated, rather than part of the highway network maintained by Hawaii DOT"s Highways Division (though its Harbors Division provided dock facilities for the ferry vessels).A more detailed Hawaii Superferry discussion appears later in these FAQs.4.5 Are,or were, there plans for an Interstate H-4, or other new Interstates or other freeways in Hawaii?There are no current plans for any new Interstates, or for that matterany other freeways, anywhere in Hawaii. There are long-range possibilitiesfor new freeways (probably non-Interstate), on Oahu and elsewhere, butthey are speculative, do not have any kind of official approval even aspreliminary plans, and are at least a decade or two away from constructioneven if they are ever approved.There have been long-abandoned proposals for additional Interstates,mainly on Oahu. When Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to statehood, Congressordered a study of whether the new states should get Interstate highways.Hawaii DOT proposed Interstate upgrades to just about every primary statehighway on Oahu, even the Farrington Highway around Kaena Point in northwestOahu (once a legendarily bad unpaved road, now permanently closed despitethe absence of any decent alternate route between the west and northcoasts), as well as an Interstate between the Big Island"s deep draft harborsin Hilo and Kawaihae. The proposed Kaena Point freeway is sometimes thought to have been a proposed Interstate H-4, but as far as I can tell the unsuccessful proposal never was given that route number. The U.S. Bureau of Public Roads recommended approval (whichwas later granted, on August 29, 1960) for the Interstate corridors on Oahu whichultimately were assigned route numbers H-1, H-2, and H-3. (H-3 was later rerouted from the Moanalua Valley as originally planned, west to the adjacent Halawa Valley, but the 1960 approval for the H-3 corridor was general enough to allow Hawaii DOT to move H-3 over by one valley.) The runner-up proposal thatjust missed the cutoff was an eastward extension of what is now H-1 to Koko Head. Nearthe bottom of the rankings was the proposed "H-4" freeway around Kaena Point(but that still was less of a flop than Alaska"s proposed Interstate to Nome).See U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Public Roads, "Report on Extension of National System of Interstate and Defense Highways Within Alaska and Hawaii" (January 1960) (9.48 MB download, requires Adobe Reader).My review of historical Hawaii DOT planning documents confirms that Hawaii DOT generally did not further pursue the planned Interstates that were rejected by the Bureau of Public Roads in 1960. That includes in particular the proposed Interstate around Kaena Point, which Hawaii DOT plans quickly downgraded to a proposed two-lane parkway, before it completely fell off Hawaii DOT"s radar screen. Something kind of like the original proposed extension of Interstate H-1 east to Koko Head was pursued by Hawaii DOT up to at least 1980, specifically a controversial proposed rerouting of about eight miles of the Kalanianaole Highway (state route 72) inland north of Koko Head. However, that proposal may have been for only a divided highway, not an Interstate or other freeway.In 1968, Hawaii DOT proposed adding a new 6.5 mile-long Interstate H-4 through downtown Honolulu (report 3.14 MB downland, requires Adobe Reader), though the proposal appears to have gone nowhere in a hurry. The new freeway would have run east from Interstate H-1 exit 18 (the Keehi Interchange east of the airport), over a long viaduct following Dillingham Boulevard, the Nimitz Highway and Ala Moana Boulevard along the Honolulu waterfront, then continuing east (perhaps at ground level rather than on a viaduct) past the Ala Moana Shopping Center before turning inland west of Waikiki to rejoin Interstate H-1 at exit 25 (the Kapiolani Interchange north of Waikiki). Hawaii DOT considered but rejected for cost reasons an alternative putting part of H-4 in an underwater tunnel offshore. The H-4 proposal apparently was made in a bid for some of the additional Interstate system mileage and funding authorized by Congress in 1968, and I suspect the proposal simply lost out to competing mainland projects. However, local opposition to an elevated waterfront freeway may also have discouraged Hawaii DOT from proceeding with the project, with less favorable funding, as a non-Interstate highway. In any event, the 1968 H-4 proposal went unmentioned in Hawaii DOT annual reports for later years, though it was at least nominally alive in 1970, showing up in a Federal report on outstanding Interstate system extension requests. Also in the late 1960s, HawaiiDOT suggested an offshore "reef highway", to relieve already-building traffic congestion in eastern Honolulu, as an alternative to unpopular proposals to improve Interstate H-1 and state route 72 (including an unspecified elevated freeway through downtown Honolulu, perhaps the H-4 proposal discussed above). The reef highway would have been on causeways linking a series of artificial islands built atop reefs, from near Honolulu Harbor past Waikiki to near Koko Head. This proposal, however, immediately met strong public opposition and was not pursued. The proposal for the "reef highway" appears never to have been developed enough to be formally adopted by Hawaii DOT.Kurumi"s proposal to replace the curvaceous Hana Highway in east Maui with a six-lane Interstate H-4 freeway was, of course, made purely in jest ("if my conscience ever evaporates," he emphasizes). Also, as noted in item 4.4 above, the former Hawaii Superferry interisland auto ferry system for a time used a pseudo-Interstate H-4 logo. The system later used a more straightforward and consumer-friendly logo, featuring manta rays.4.6Do Hawaii"s Interstate route numbers have a hyphen between the "H" andthe number?Officially, the Interstate route numbers are hyphenated (H-1, H-2,etc.). The hyphen is almost always omitted from the route shields on thefreeways themselves, permitting a sleek design with large numbers. However, some of the newer signson local streets, directing traffic onto Interstate entrances, and also a half-dozen signs erected since 2002 showing the new names adopted that year for several Hawaii Interstates, includethe hyphen in the route number (as well as the state name, which is omittedfrom standard on-freeway route shields -- as if anybody ever needed a reminderthat they were still in Hawaii!). See the Introductionpage to the Hawaii Highways road photos collection for examples.The hyphenated Interstate route numbers are rather awkward in someways -- for example, something like "Interstates H-1-H-3" is a more confusingreference to consecutive routes than "Interstates H1-H3" -- and the "H1,"H2" and "H3" shields look nicer and are much easier to read from a distancethan shields with the hyphen. Perhaps influenced by Hawaii"s experience,when Alaska was allowed in 1980 to designate (purely on paper) four Interstatesof its own, their route numbers were at least initially left unhyphenated: "A1," "A2," etc.But formally de-hyphenating Hawaii"s Interstates would throw them out of synch with the rest of the Interstate numbering system (see next item), and in any event wouldn"t be worththe trouble.4.7 Are Hawaii"sInterstates ever referred to as "I-H-1," etc.?Thankfully, no. They"re simply called "H-1," etc. or "InterstateH-1," etc.In addition to looking strange with the Hawaii Interstates" "H-"numbers, the "I-" prefix would be inappropriate because FHWA reserves thatfor the mainland"s Interstate network, and assigns instead the distinctive "H-"prefix to the separate Hawaii Interstate network. Thus, the FHWA routelog refers to "I-4," "I-5," etc., but to the Hawaii Interstates as "H-1,""H-2," etc., with the "H-" substituted for "I-" as the prefix. Ditto forthe "paper" Interstates of Alaska and Puerto Rico, which are respectively"A-1," etc. and "PRI-1," etc., with no "I-" (pre-)prefix.
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© Oscar Voss. Last updated March 2013.