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Driving hours extended for Pali Highway as repairs stretch into December

  • COURTESY HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
                                In this undated photo, crews work on the construction of a new “rock shed” at the entrance of a town-bound tunnel on Pali Highway to shield the roadway and motorists from potential falling debris.

    COURTESY HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

    In this undated photo, crews work on the construction of a new “rock shed” at the entrance of a town-bound tunnel on Pali Highway to shield the roadway and motorists from potential falling debris.

  • COURTESY HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
                                In this undated photo, crews work on repairs to Pali Highway.

    COURTESY HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

    In this undated photo, crews work on repairs to Pali Highway.

The Pali Highway will not be fully reopened this month as originally anticipated, according to state transportation officials, who have now pushed the date back to December.

The delay is due to numerous rainy days that hampered resurfacing, as well as additional factors.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation, however, announced that starting Monday, Pali Highway hours will be extended to include one additional hour on weekdays, and to remain open Saturdays.

The new Pali Highway hours starting Monday will be:

>> 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily on weekdays.

>> 5 a.m. Saturday through 8 p.m. Sunday.

Currently, the highway is open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Friday, and closed Saturdays. Those extended hours were added in September, when the highway also opened lanes in both directions simultaneously.

Officials said overnight closures are still necessary to complete the construction of the new “rock shed” at the entrance of a town-bound tunnel, as well as to finish paving of town-bound lanes.

The rock shed, a new concrete structure that extends about 80 feet from the entrance of the second town-bound tunnel, is designed to shield the roadway and motorists from potential debris falling from the Koolau slopes above.

Continuing work on the rock shed and repaving will take place nightly from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Friday. During these hours, two Honolulu-bound lanes, and one Kailua-bound lane will be closed. However, one Kailua-bound lane will remain open for 24/7 access to the public, barring special circumstances.

During the day, one-lane closures may also be scheduled as needed.

Besides the rock shed, officials said remaining work on Pali Highway between Kamehameha Highway and Waokanaka Street includes paving, high-friction surface treatment, striping, and electrical and guardrail installation.

Work is anticipated to be finished in December, weather permitting.

To date, officials said 40% of planned paving days on the Pali Highway resurfacing project have been rained out, resulting in some of the delay. Additionally, two paving nights were lost when asphalt deliveries were hampered by protests at Kalaeloa Harbor.

Protesters there were trying to block the transport of wind turbine parts to Kahuku for the construction of Na Pua Makani, a controversial wind farm project on Oahu’s North Shore.

Officials say the paving contractor, however, has doubled the number of its crews to help expedite the completion as soon as possible.

The Nuuanu Pali Lookout will also reopen to the public during daylight hours on Monday. The public is reminded to remain in permitted areas only.

“HDOT appreciates the patience and kokua from the communities that depend upon Pali Highway as we work to maintain and protect our highway infrastructure,” the state said in a news release.

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