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DOT NEWS RELEASE: Pali Highway open 24/7 in both directions beginning Dec. 21, 2019

Posted on Dec 20, 2019 in Latest Department News

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Highways Division is pleased to announce that Pali Highway (Route 61) will be open in both directions 24 hours a day, seven days a week beginning Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019.

Emergency slope repairs resulting from the catastrophic landslides on President’s Day, Feb. 18, 2019 are substantially complete. The highway between the tunnels is now protected from future rockfalls and landslides by a redundant system with an attenuator catchment fence and a new rock shed structure over the Honolulu-bound lanes before the second Pali Highway tunnel.

An anticipated four-hour long full closure of the Honolulu-bound lanes of Pali Highway will be scheduled in January 2020 to complete construction of the 80-foot rock shed. This closure will be scheduled in the overnight hours to minimize impacts to the public. An announcement will be made when the closure is scheduled.

Work on Phase 1 of the Pali Highway Improvement project—which included repaving and reconstruction of the highway between Waokanaka Street and Kamehameha Highway and street lighting improvements from Vineyard Boulevard to Kamehameha Highway—is anticipated to be completed in February 2020, weather permitting. One lane closures are necessary to complete shoulder, median, and guardrail work and will be scheduled during off peak hours.

“We appreciate the community’s patience as we worked to improve Pali Highway and make it more resilient against the severe weather events we’ve been seeing in recent years,” said Hawaii Department of Transportation Deputy Director of Highways Ed Sniffen. “Safety for our contracted workers and the traveling public was our number one priority as we worked on the emergency repairs and our ongoing repaving and street lighting project.”

Facts and Figures:

Pali Highway – Street Lighting from Vineyard Boulevard to Kamehameha Highway and Resurfacing from Waokanaka Street to Kamehameha Highway began in December 2017. The original project scope included:

  • Resurfacing, reconstruction, construction of concrete median barriers, and guardrail replacements on Pali Highway from Waokanaka Street to Kamehameha Highway (a 5-mile stretch of multilane highway).
  • Light Emitting Diode (LED) street light replacements (322 fixtures total) and installation of new communications conduits from Vineyard Boulevard to Kamehameha Highway.
  • Installation of concrete median barriers and new street lights from Wyllie Street to Pauoa Road.
  • Widening of the Honolulu-bound shoulder between Dowsett Avenue and Wyllie Street to reduce traffic impacts from the City and County of Honolulu’s Dowsett Highlands Sewer Relief project.
  • New traffic signs, striping, drainage improvements, and shoulder rumble strips between Waokanaka Street to Kamehameha Highway.
  • Installation of safety features such as High Friction Surface Treatment and glare screens at the hairpin turn.
  • Installation of traffic counting systems and traffic signal improvements along the corridor.

Items added to the original scope:

  • Specification of use of Stone Matrix Asphalt for travel lanes as the mix is more durable and flexible, which allows for a longer life span over traditional asphalt pavement.
  • Raised thermoplastic lane striping.

Additional construction designed to recover and mitigate Pali Highway from rockfall and landslides included:

  • Design and construction of an 80-foot long tunnel structure (rock shed) to protect the Honolulu-bound lanes between the Pali Tunnels (area listed as No. 9 on the Statewide Prioritized Rockfall List).
  • Design and installation of rockfall attenuator fencing, roadside rockfall barriers, and anchor wire mesh netting between the tunnels and at the site of the mudslide past the second Kaneohe-bound tunnel.

Estimated total cost:

  • $22 million for the emergency repairs
  • $64 million for the Phase 1 improvements

The new rock shed tunnel structure is nearing completion and is located on Pali Highway in the Honolulu-bound direction before the second tunnel and is designed to prevent debris from falling on the roadway. Photo courtesy: “Hawaii Department of Transportation” or “HDOT”.