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H-3, Hawaii's third highway to be part of the federal interstate system, opened to the first drivers after years of construction delays. Interest in building the road began in the post-World War II years when a Cold War mentality emphasized security. Envisioned as a defense highway linking the Marine station at Mokapu with Pearl Harbor, preliminary planning began in 1959. Road building was halted and delayed over the years by archeological finds, route changes, legal challenges, and the practical challenges of boring twin tunnels between Ha'iku and Halawa valleys. Hawaii's Senator Inouye removed the last obstacles by winning the project legal exemption from all federal environmental laws. Once complete, the 15-mile road was the most expensive in U.S. history, costing $100 million per mile.
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