H3 Freeway and Tunnel

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Oahu, HI
H3 Freeway and Tunnel
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The H3 Freeway offers exquisite views over the windward side of the island and brings you right under the Koolau mountains. When the H3 tunnel was first built, for military uses to connect the opposite sides of the island, it was controversial because it was built over a Hawaiian heiau, or religious site. The day it was opened, the public were allowed to walk along it before cars would take it over. Wow! The views were amazing! Panoramic views of the entire east side of the island. I'll never forget that rare opportunity I had to walk along it. You can see the same unbelievable views by car today. Passengers rather than drivers, obviously, get the best chance to see it all.

There is a high-tech control station atop the freeway where personnel keep track of everything that is going on inside the tunnel. Inside the tunnel are tiny blue and white tiles all the way through- quite an expense. The entire H3 Tunnel project cost $1,600,000,000! It is called an Interstate Freeway because you can drive to California on it- just kidding! It was set up as an Interstate so that it could be paid for by the federal government. I'd like to have heard that argument.
For a lovely place with stunning mountain views (pretty much one of the most beautiful places on earth), at the base of the H3 on the windward side of the island, check out Hawaii Pacific University's windward campus. After 2020, it will become a part of Castle Medical Center.

Continue to directions...

The H3 Freeway hugs the Koolau mountains.

Views as you first enter the H3 Freeway from the Kailua side.

Heading up the H3 from the Kailua side.

The impressive tunnels up ahead.

Pretty views as you approach from the Kaneohe side.

Clouds casting shadows on the mountains.

Looking back toward the ocean.


From Kailua, on the Kalanianaole Hwy, turn right towards Kaneohe on Kamehameha Hwy. Follow the signs to the H3.
You will end up near Aiea. Head back by following signs to Honolulu.


Click on map for interactive view


Add your comments
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Tue, 25 May 2010

yepidy do dah...

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Sun, 23 Jan 2011

It\'s built as an interstate because for years the residents of Hawaii have been paying the same federal fuel taxes people on the mainland pay. The Interstate system was built partially as a military project allowing for the movement of troops and supplies across the US not just for motorists. All of the \"H\" interstates here are built with a defense purpose in mind as well. H-2 ends at Wheeler/Schofield, H-1 terminates at former Barbers Point NAS, and H-3 connects Kaneohe MCBH or MCAS, whatever they\'re calling it this week, to Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam.

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Sun, 11 Sep 2011

The road parallel to, and sometimes under H-3 in Halawa Valley is the old construction access road. It begins at the cement plant in Halawa and is blocked off by a chain. The State refuses vehicle access, but I\'m sure you could get to it by bike.

We tried to obtain access in order to investigate the strange magnetic anomaly on the Pearl Harbor side of the tunnels. As you drive along the H-3 roadway after exiting the tunnels, a compass in yopur car will intermittantly swing away from pointing North, and will sometimes even spin around. The State of Hawaii denies any knowledge of the reason for this. The subject is discussed at some length in \"Hawai`i Threads,\" a local discussion site.

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Sun, 03 Jan 2010

As I travel North ( or is it east?) on H3, I can see some sort of walking/biking trail off the right side of the road. Does anyone know what trail this is? I\'d love to walk it sometime.

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Sat, 24 Jul 2010

drove yesteday...Stunning!

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dr ifter

Mon, 17 Jan 2011

that road off the side i think had to do with the original construction. i too would like to have access to that road

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Fri, 29 Jan 2010


Last Updated: Wed, 11 Dec 2019 23:59:25 GMT

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