Interstate H-1 is a 27.16 mile freeway which runs the east/west with of the Hawaiian Island of O'ahu. Interstate H-1 begins from the terminus of Hawaii Route 72 in Honolulu and treks westward across O'ahu to Hawaii Route 92 in Kapolei. Interstate H-1 is the primary through highway in the City of Honolulu and connects numerous important locales on the Island of O'ahu. Pictured above is Interstate H-1 eastbound approaching downtown Honolulu.
Part 1; the history of Interstate H-1
Prior to the Statehood the first signed highways within Hawaii Territory came into existence during World War II. During World War II the territory of Hawaii saw an influx of military activity following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. Numerous Military Routes and early Hawaii Routes were signed through the Hawaiian Territory to aid military personnel in navigating the islands. Military Highways were assigned US Route style shields whereas lesser highways were assigned an early variation of what is now the Hawaii Route Spade. A 1946 Army Map of the Island of O'ahu shows the future corridor of Interstate H-1 ("I-H1") occupied by Military Route 1 from Kahala westward to Ewa Junction and Military Route 2 westward towards Barbers Point. A full version of the 1946 Army Map of O'ahu can be seen on hawaiihighways.com here.
The beginnings of what is now known as the Luanlilo Freeway was completed in downtown Honolulu as the Mauka Arterial during November 1953. The Mauka Arterial was approximately 1 mile length between Kapiolani Boulevard westward to Kapiolani Hospital at Punahou Street. The Mauka Arterial prior to 1955 did not appear to have a route number and can be seen in full on the 1956 USGS map image hosted on historicaerials.org.
The Mauka Arterial can be seen shortly after opening during 1953 before it was part of I-H1 in a hawaiihighway.com sourced photo.
Circa 1955 following the conclusion of World War II the United States Bureau of Public Roads renumbered the Hawaii Route System. The 1955 Hawaii Route Renumbering saw most of the conventions utilized by the current Hawaii State Route System established. Primary Hawaii Routes were given two digit numbers whereas Secondary Hawaii Routes were given three digit numbers. The Hawaii Routes were assigned in sequence for what Island/County they were located on coupled with what Federal Aid Program number they were tied to. In the case of O'ahu the Island was assigned numbers in the range of 60-99. A far more detailed explanation of the 1955 Hawaii Route Renumbering can be found at hawaiihighways.com here.
In the case of the Mauka Arterial it was assigned as part of Hawaii Route 72 ("HI 71") during the 1955 Hawaii Route Renumbering. On August 21st, 1959 Hawaii became the 50th State which saw it's profile rise significantly. The Hawaii Department of Transportation's History of Interstate H-3 guide details much of the early history of the Interstate System in Hawaii. The Interstate System in Hawaii was authorized as part of the 1960 Statehood Act. The 1960 Statehood Act authorized Interstates H-1, H-2 and H-3 on the Island of O'ahu.
Hawaiihighways.com details the construction history of I-H1 on their O'ahu page. The first segment of the Lunalilo Freeway to be constructed as I-H1 between Exit 25B east to 26A was completed by 1965. This segment can be seen under construction in the 1965 Hawaii Department of Transportation photo below.
I-H1 on the Queen Liliuokalani Freeway from Exit 5 (HI 76/HI 750) to it's western terminus opened during 1967. The remainder of the Lunalilo Freeway segment of I-H1 in Honolulu was completed by July 1969. The Queen Liliuokalani segment of I-H1 was completed east to HI 78 (future Interstate H-201) by 1971. The Queen Liliuokalani segment of I-H1 was gradually extended east of HI 78 to the Lunalilo Freeway segment of I-H1 culminating in the completion of the Intestate during May of 1986.
Part 1; a drive on Interstate H-1 from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport to Punahou Street
During my recent trip to O'ahu I did clinch the entirety of I-H1 but I wasn't able to put much of it to camera due to driving it at night. The initial leg of my O'ahu trip began at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport with an eastward jog on I-H1 to Exit 23 onto Punahou Street towards Waikiki.
Below the Lunalilo Freeway segment of I-H1 in downtown Honolulu can be seen from the air. Notable landmarkss such as Punchbowl Crater, Waikiki and Diamond Head are obvious to spot.
From the rental car facility of Daniel K. Inouye International Airport traffic is directed towards I-H1 via Aolele Street and Lagoon Drive to Nimitz Highway. Section III (the Airport segment) of the Honolulu Rail Transit System can be seen above Aolele Street. Segment I of the Honolulu Rail Transit System between East Kapolei and Aloha Stadium is scheduled to open before year end 2021. Segment III of the Honolulu Rail Transit System is slated to be completed in 2031 between Aloha Stadium and Middle Street in Honolulu.
Traffic heading onto I-H1 eastbound towards Honolulu is directed onto Nimitz Highway to the Queen Liliuokalani Freeway. I-H1 is signed with Honolulu as a control City whereas HI 92 carries Nimitz Highway towards Waikiki.
I-H1 eastbound passes under I-H201 via a tunnel and transitions from the Queen Liliuokalani Freeway to the Lunalilo Freeway.
I-H1 Lunalilo Freeway eastbound Exit 20B accesses HI 98/Vineland Boulevard approaching downtown Honolulu.
I-H1 Lunalilo Freeway eastbound Exit 23 accesses Punahou Street. Punahou Street is signed as access to Manoa and Waikiki.
The initial I-H1 shield carried a hyphen in the shield body (example; H-1) to match the official designation of the Interstate. Since the 1978 revision of the Hawaii Interstate shield the hyphens present in the original variation has largely been eliminated. Even still several hyphen shields can still be located around I-H1 mostly on surface streets.
A hyphen I-H1 shield as seen on Kapahulu Avenue near Honolulu Zoo.
A I-H1 hyphen shield approaching the 11th Street on ramp.
A I-H1 hyphen shield approaching the Alexander Street on ramp.
Part 4; various Interstate H-1 photos
The terminus of HI 72/Kalanianaʻole Highway transitioning to the I-H1/Luanlilo Freeway in eastern Honolulu at Exit 27 Kilaueu Avenue.
Westbound I-H1 transitioning from the Luanlilo Freeway to the Queen Liliuokalini Freeway from the left hand Exit (19B) to I-H201.
Part 5; Interstate H-1 featured by RoadwayWiz
During April of 2019 Dan Murphy (also of Gribblenation) featured Interstate H-1 on the RoadwayWiz Youtube channel. Below Interstate H-1 is featured eastbound in it's entirety.
Below Interstate H-1 westbound can be viewed in it's entirety.