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DOT Gives Update On Pali Highway Repairs With Completion Pushed To November

Casey Harlow

Update: July 1, 7:36 p.m.

State transportation officials will be extending contraflow hours for Pali Highway users starting August 1. That was about when repairs to  one of the major routes between Windward Oahu and Honolulu were to be completed, but finishing the work is now scheduled for November.

Next month, from Sunday through Friday, Honolulu bound lanes will run from 5 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and Kailua-K?ne?ohe bound traffic from 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Starting Sept. 1, the Pali Highway will be open in both directions during daytime hours. During that period, the state Department of Transportation will close the highway at night for additional work to ensure safety around the tunnels.

"We can give that day back to make sure that everyone can use the route in both directions with the full capacity the Pali Highway has," said Ed Sniffen, deputy director of highways. "But we're still going to be shutting down at night. There's two areas along the slope going K?ne?ohe bound that we need to repair to make sure from a permanent perspective everybody is protected using this."

Sniffen said he expects all the work to be finished by November, with the highway returning to its normal capacity. Back in March, officials said the $15 million to $20 million in repairs were scheduled for completion in the first week of August. 

Credit Casey Harlow / HPR
The area where a landslide took place in February on the Pali Highway was affected during the June rain event.

Sniffen said last week's rain did not delay repairs, and most of the work already done held up. But an area where a landslide took place in February was affected.

DOT contractors installed erosion-control matting in the area to minimize any material that came down while work was being conducted. The matting was stabilized with 12-inch spikes.

"During the last storm, portions of the slope blew the 12-inch spikes out," said Sniffen. "So we rematted it, [and] we put in six-foot anchors in those areas."

The anchors are temporary, Sniffen said. But on a permanent basis, the DOT will be installing more than a hundred soil nails into the slope, TECCO mesh, and a rockfall prevention fence along the road.

Additional work is being planned around the highway's tunnels due to last week's rain. Transportation officials said the work will be done during nighttime hours starting Sept. 1 and through October.

In February, landslies closed both sides of the Pali Highway near the tunnels and sent three people to the hospital. At the time, officials said permanent repairs could take months to complete.

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