Pali Highway to Open 24/7 Beginning December 21

Most of the post-landslide emergency work is completed.
pali highway
Photo: Robbie Dingeman


Windward commuters got an early holiday present from the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation: news that Pali Highway will be open in both directions 24 hours a day, seven days a week beginning Dec. 21, 2019.


The $22 million emergency repair work began in February after rocks and mud loosened by heavy rains tumbled onto and closed the roadway Presidents’ Day weekend. The closure forced drivers to take Likelike or Kalanianaole Highway or H-3 Freeway, adding miles and minutes to their daily trek. As work progressed, the highway gradually opened for longer hours: first rush hour, then primarily daytime hours, until recent weeks with mostly weeknight closing of Honolulu-bound lanes and one-lane closing Kailua-bound.


State transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara says some remaining work must be done when it’s not raining on the Ko‘olau range, such as painting the lane striping. Sakahara says one-lane closures and a four-hour night road closure will be scheduled in the new year.


With some help from the weather, he says, “in February, it will be a new and improved Pali Highway back to full access.”


SEE ALSO: Pali Highway Landslide Repairs Will Stretch into December


While the emergency work was being done, building netting, extending a tunnel and other preventive measures, the state also expedited $64 million of other planned improvements.


That included repaving and reconstruction of a five-mile stretch of the highway between Waokanaka Street and Kamehameha Highway and street lighting improvements from Vineyard Boulevard to Kamehameha Highway. And it included shoulder, median, and guardrail and street light work.


Read more stories by Robbie Dingeman