Emergency repairs to Pali Highway on track to finish in August
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Emergency repairs to Pali Highway on track to finish in August

  • COURTESY HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION / FEB. 20

    The repairs to Pali Highway are still expected to be done, along with repaving work on Honolulu-bound lanes, by the end of August, as announced earlier.

Emergency repairs to the Pali Highway following the February landslide and rockfall are still on track and access hours will remain the same, according to state transportation officials.

The repairs to Pali Highway are still expected to be done, along with repaving work on Honolulu-bound lanes, by the end of August, as announced earlier.

On Monday through Friday, the hours of access to Pali Highway will remain as follows:

>> 5 to 9 a.m.: Honolulu-bound contraflow.

>> 3 to 7 p.m.: Access to Kailua/Kaneohe-bound lanes.

Pali Highway will remain closed on weekends and holidays to maximize the time available for emergency slope stabilization work, state officials said.

The repair work, estimated at $20 million, includes the installation of a mesh net system to stabilize the slope between the Pali Tunnels, the installation of a tunnel structure, and repairs to the damaged, electric building between the tunnels.

Contractors continue to install a mesh net system, referred to in engineering terms as an “attenuator,” below Old Pali Road to prevent further rockfalls from reaching Pali Highway. A structure extending the entrance to the second tunnel, Kailua bound, is also being planned, as an additional shield from falling rocks and soil. Some drilling preparation work for the new structure began on Monday.

Repairs to the electrical building and conduits are expected to be finished in June. Once completed, the tunnel lights, which have been out since the Feb. 18 rockfall, are expected to come back on.

Currently, the left lane of the Kailua bound side of the highway is closed after the Waokanaka Street intersection for the installation of a 4,000-foot concrete drainage gutter. The closure may last another four to six weeks. Two lanes will remain accessible to the public.

When the H-3 freeway or Likelike Highway are closed for maintenance, state officials said they will make Pali Highway available.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation also posted the following answers to frequently asked questions:

>> Why can’t we have contraflow in the Kailua bound lanes all day?

For the safety of everyone involved, HDOT is restricting access between the tunnels during work on the slopes. During access hours, the emergency work crews avoid any work that may disturb the slope. HDOT avoids contraflowing traffic within tunnels except in the most extreme circumstances due to safety concerns relating to head on traffic within tunnels. Contractors may also be on both sides of the highway during work hours as they use the Kailua bound lanes to work on the Honolulu bound side.

>> Will the Honolulu bound a.m. contraflow and Kailua bound access be open on holidays?

HDOT is working with the contractor to substantially complete the Pali Highway Emergency Work and the repaving of the Honolulu-bound lanes of Pali Highway between Castle Junction and Waokanaka Street by the end of August 2019. Allowing the contractor to work on weekends and holidays helps with the accelerated scheduling.

>> Are crews really working between the access hours?

Yes. Crews are working to install the slope mesh, repair the electrical building for the tunnel lights, and install the attenuator system. Drilling in preparation for the foundations of the new tunnel structure began on Monday, May 13.

>> I got to Castle Junction at 8:57 a.m. and was not let through. Why didn’t they keep it open until 9 a.m.?

The contractor for the traffic control allowing safe access to Pali Highway for the a.m. and p.m. commute has been informed of the concerns and does adhere to our posted access hours. Traffic control personnel begin shifting lanes 20 minutes prior to the closure times and close promptly to allow the contractors the time they need to work on the emergency repairs.

If you are planning on taking the a.m. Honolulu-bound contraflow or the p.m. access to the Kailua/Kaneohe bound lanes, HDOT recommends giving yourself adequate time to clear any congestion leading to Castle Junction or Waokanaka Street. If you are within a half hour of the closing time before you leave home or work, please consider taking another Koolau route.

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