O‘ahu’s Pali Highway Landslide Repairs Will Stretch into December 2019

But there’s some good news for Windward commuters: daily access and a little more time on the highway.
pali highway updates
State transportation photos and a video show the progress made on the new rock shed barrier, paving and other roadwork on Pali Highway.
Photos: Courtesy of the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation


To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Pali Highway emergency repairs will take longer than predicted, now continuing at least into December. But some relief began the week of Nov. 4, when state transportation officials expanded weekend opening hours to Saturdays, added one Kailua-bound lane open 24/7 and added an hour of weekday evening access.


When mud and rocks tumbled onto the busy commuter corridor to Windward O‘ahu in February, the road closed: first in both directions, then in the Honolulu-bound direction with traffic contraflowed during rush hours, with overnight and Saturday closures.


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pali highway


Gradually, the access hours have been expanding as slope repair work finished. In September, the state finished some portion and opened the highway in both directions Sunday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. (with the road closed Saturdays and overnight).


Construction was then estimated to be completed by November, weather permitting. State transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara says recent rainy weather has pushed back the schedule, now estimated to complete sometime in December.


In a news release Friday, officials estimated 40% of planned paving days on the Pali Highway resurfacing project were rained out. Two paving nights have also been lost as a result of asphalt deliveries hampered by Kahuku wind farm protests at Kalaeloa Harbor, they said, but the paving contractor doubled the number of crews to help complete the work as soon as possible.


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Pali Highway


If you’re going Windward, here’s the schedule you need beginning Monday, Nov. 4:

  • Pali Highway will stay open Kailua-bound 24/7—with one lane open and one lane still closing overnight from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays and Sundays, every night but Saturday.

  • Honolulu-bound direction commuters will still have both lanes closed overnight from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., excluding Saturday. 

  • Weekend access will have all lanes in both directions open from 5 a.m. Saturday through 8 p.m. Sunday.

  • The Nu‘uanu Pali Lookout also will reopen to the public beginning Nov. 4, during daylight hours. 


When work is complete, it will include an 80-foot rock shed that extends the Honolulu-bound tunnel. The work still remaining includes paving, striping, electrical and guardrail installation. Some daytime one-lane closures may be scheduled.


Pali Highway


For updates, check transportation department social media and the HDOT roadwork webpage.


On, Feb. 18, a rockfall and mudslide closed the busy commuter corridor after heavy rains. The state estimated that emergency work would cost about $20 million. State transportation crews were already working on unrelated projects on the Pali Highway before the emergency work. By March, crews had cleared away debris but evaluated the risk for future problems and opted to address the rockfall risk with new work.


Read more stories by Robbie Dingeman