April 2019 Pali Highway update: Access schedule to be in place through August; adjustments to maintenance and electronic message boards planned

Posted on Apr 2, 2019 in Highways News, Main, News

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) provides the following updates on the Pali Highway emergency repairs.

After review of the accelerated time frame for the emergency repairs to Pali Highway between the tunnels, HDOT will maintain the current schedule for access throughout the duration of the project.

The current access schedule for Pali Highway between its intersection with Kamehameha Highway (Castle Junction) and Waokanaka Street is:

  • Honolulu bound morning contraflow

Two lanes of Honolulu bound traffic are available Monday through Friday between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m.

  • Kailua/Kaneohe bound lanes open for evening commute

Access to the Kailua/Kaneohe bound lanes of Pali Highway are available Monday through Friday between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

AM contraflow and PM access is open Monday through Friday. There is no access to Pali Highway between Castle Junction and Waokanaka Street Saturdays, Sundays, and on holidays.

For the duration of the emergency repairs, HDOT will discontinue the morning coning at Castle Junction that provided a second dedicated right turn lane from Kamehameha Highway onto Pali Highway Honolulu bound. The second turn lane is not heavily used as it is nearby the entrance to the crossover for the AM Honolulu bound contraflow. There has also been an observed increase in traffic volume on Kamehameha Highway heading towards Pali Highway/Kalanianaole Highway Kailua bound. When Pali Highway is opened without restrictions, HDOT will reevaluate the Castle Junction morning coning.

HDOT estimates completion of the slope stabilization and rockfall mitigation measures at the site of the February 18, 2019 rockfall by the end of August 2019. Progress on the design of the two-fold rockfall mitigation through an attenuator catchment system and construction of a new tunnel structure at the entrance of the second Honolulu-bound tunnel is on schedule. The attenuator system design is complete, materials have been ordered, and the system is expected to be installed by the end of April. Design of the new tunnel structure is expected to be finalized in mid-April.

The tunnel lighting system damaged by the fallen section of Old Pali Road has been fully assessed now that the debris has been removed from between the tunnels. HDOT anticipates the work to restore the tunnel lighting will be completed by early June. Until then, motorists accessing Pali Highway in the early morning hours of the AM contraflow or the PM Kailua/Kaneohe bound access are asked to use lights and caution in the tunnels.

Conservative cost estimate for the work is between $15-20 million. HDOT is pursuing FHWA Emergency Relief (ER) funding for this project. ER funds are provided on a cost-share basis for repair or reconstruction of highways damaged as a result of natural disasters. More information on FHWA ER funds can be found at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/erelief.cfm

Through SB 1091, HDOT is also seeking a $15 million appropriation to offset the costs of the emergency slope stabilization work on Pali Highway and Honoapiilani Highway. Should HDOT qualify and be reimbursed for the emergency work, any reimbursements would be returned to the state’s general fund.

The traveling public is also advised that during the Pali Highway emergency repairs, maintenance work on Koolau routes such as the H-3 Freeway and Likelike Highway may be necessary. Maintenance of these routes is especially critical with the additional volumes on the routes from motorists who normally use Pali Highway. Notification of any closures on the Koolau routes will be sent as soon as possible, and coordination to stop emergency work and open Pali Highway will be considered for larger closures.

HDOT would also like to inform the public that the Dynamic Message Signs (DMSs), except for those at key decision points, will return to messaging on incidents and estimated travel times. The estimated travel times are programmed to run on the H-1 Kaamilo Street overpass sign in the eastbound direction and the H-1 Liliha Street overpass in the westbound direction. For more information on the estimated travel time messaging, please see https://hidot.hawaii.gov/administration/hdot-launches-new-travel-time-messages-to-help-drivers-choose-the-faster-route/

As always, HDOT recommends motorists check traffic conditions using GoAkamai.org or the app of their choice prior to getting on the road.

Updated photos of the slope stabilization and Pali Highway can be accessed here.