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HDOT NEWS RELEASE: Wilson Tunnel repairs complete, Likelike Highway to fully reopen Thursday morning

Posted on Nov 3, 2015 in Latest Department News, Newsroom, Office of the Governor Press Releases

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is pleased to announce the emergency repairs in the Wilson Tunnel have finished ahead of schedule.
The Likelike Highway is expected to fully reopen in the Honolulu bound direction by 4 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015. The lane closures in the Kaneohe bound direction have already been lifted.

Crews are busy removing dozens of concrete barriers within the Honolulu bound direction of the Tunnel, in addition to the hundreds of water filled barriers along the Highway. In an effort to reopen the Highway as quickly as possible, yet avoid the peak morning commute hours, crews will continue to work today through 7 p.m. Work will resume Wednesday, Nov. 4 beginning at 9 a.m. through 4 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 5. During these times both Honolulu bound lanes will be closed from the H-3 Freeway split through the Wilson Tunnel. The Pali Highway and H-3 Freeway are alternate routes.

All of the repairs are complete in the Kaneohe bound direction of the Likelike Highway. The previously announced one lane overnight closures from Nov. 3 – 6 from 9 p.m. – 4 a.m. are no longer necessary. There will be no more lane closures in the Kaneohe bound direction.

Public health and safety is the top priority for HDOT. Crews have inspected the tunnel and determined it is structurally sound and safe for travel. Inspections will continue annually, instead of every other year.

Damage to some of the stainless steel rods that help support the tunnel ceiling was discovered during a routine inspection on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. Thirty of the more than 700 rods have been replaced; 28 in the Honolulu bound direction and two in the Kaneohe bound direction. In addition, crews patched spalling concrete in both directions of the tunnel.

The preliminary cause of the damage to the rods appears to be wear and tear; given these were the original rods from 1960, combined with the vibration within the structure itself. However, two rods are being sent to the Federal Highways Administration for a more in-depth analysis. We will await the results before making a final determination on cause.

The repairs were finished and the highway is scheduled to be fully reopened in less than six weeks. HDOT would like to thank the motorists for adjusting their travel times during the construction. We would also like to acknowledge contractor Abhe & Svoboda, Inc. for starting the repairs as quickly as possible and returning the highway to the public ahead of schedule.


Tim Sakahara
State of Hawaii Department of Transportation
Public Information Officer
869 Punchbowl Street, Room 504
Honolulu HI 96813-5097
Telephone: (808) 587-2160
Fax: (808) 587-2313