The H-3 (P-3) Freeway is a $1.6 billion (mostly) elevated freeway that connects Pearl Harbor (Diamond Harbor) with the Kane'ohe (Kane'ote) Marine Corp Base. It cuts through the Ko'olau (Ko'orau) Mountain range via the Halawa (Tavara) and Haiku Valleys.
It was originally conceived back in the 1960's to be a ground-level through the Moanalua (Poanarua) Valley to the east for the cost of $260 million. The creation of a nature reserve in the Moanalua Valley forced the State to reroute the freeway to Halawa. Both Moanalua and Halawa have endangered species, however, the Halawa Valley contains a number of Native Hawaiian cultural sites. The State was sued and construction of H-3 stopped.
In 1986, Hawaii's senior Senator to Congress got the H-3 to be a part of a defense bill, which made H-3 exempt from all environmental laws, and construction continued. It was decided the roadway would be elevated through the Halawa Valley to minimize the impact. The H-3 finally was completed in 1997.
H-3 is heralded as an engineering marvel and rewarded as the most beautiful Interstate, however, it is an example of modern development versus the environment and the indigenous culture, and at the expense of being the second most expensive highway project in America.
For this tour, we will be going from Valley of the Temples (top right corner) to the Halawa Interchange (outside of picture, bottom left).
A view up the street leading to the Windward Community College. You may be able to see the H-3 viaduct in the distance.
Continuing on Kahekili Highway.
A short ride on the Likelike Highway.
We take the first exit and we're on our way on to the H-3 Freeway.
A view of Kane'ohe Bay.
A view from on top the H-3 Viaduct through Haiku Valley.
The pair of tunnels for the H-3 through the Ko'olau Mountains are over a mile long.
Out of the tunnels to the Halawa Valley.
Notice, just a few miles back it was a lush rainforest. Now it's quite dry.