HDOT expediting repairs to Honolulu-bound Wilson Tunnel

Posted on Oct 6, 2015 in Highways News, Main, News

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) has completed its structural assessments and emergency repair designs for the Wilson Tunnel in the Honolulu-bound direction of the Likelike Highway.

Damage to eight stainless steel rods which support the tunnel ceiling was discovered during a routine inspection on Sept. 25, 2015. To protect the health and safety of our highway users, the tunnel was closed to traffic over the weekend. During the weekend, HDOT crews and a structural engineering consultant identified 22 other rods that were damaged. To minimize impacts to motorists travelling toward town from the windward side, HDOT designed a shoring and barrier plan that allowed a single lane through the town-bound tunnel to be opened to commuters before the Monday morning traffic while inspections and repair designs were being completed.

HDOT had reported that the emergency repairs of the broken rods are likely to take approximately 2 months. However, after exploring options to expedite the work, HDOT and its contractor worked out a schedule that project completing the emergency repair within 5 weeks. Materials and equipment have been ordered and are expected within 2 to 3 weeks. Repairs will begin when the materials arrive and are expected to take approximately 2 weeks to complete.

Work hours will be from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m., daily, including weekends. From 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., the Honolulu-bound portal of the Wilson Tunnel will be completely closed to expedite the work. From 4 a.m. to 4 p.m., the right lane will be open for use. We anticipate completing the repairs and opening both lanes of the Honolulu-bound portal of the tunnel by Nov. 9. HDOT will alert the public of closure dates and times through press releases and social media updates a minimum of 3 days prior to work starting.

HDOT has placed tow trucks at both the Pali and Wilson tunnels to ensure that any incidents that affect the morning commute can be cleared as soon as practical. Engineers are looking at contraflow options during the AM peak traffic. The options are being evaluated for safety, cost, and operational impacts with respect to the repair work schedule. The Pali Highway and H-3 Freeway remain open and viable alternatives.

The Wilson Tunnel opened to traffic in 1960. The Honolulu-bound tunnel is 2,775 feet in length. The Kaneohe-bound side is 2,813 feet long. The tunnel was built by the City & County of Honolulu for $12 million. At the time HDOT had not been established. The facility was later turned over to the State.