Pali Highway landslides a common occurrence - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Pali Highway landslides a common occurrence

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Despite slope mitigation over the weekend, the slope above the Pali highway failed Monday, creating a traffic nightmare for Windward bound commuters.

This was the second time in a month that the area Kailua-side of the tunnels suffered a mudslide.

One expert we spoke to said, it won't be the last.

"It's very common to have slopes that fail repeatedly.  There can be certain geologic conditions, also in some cases climatic or rainfall conditions," said Steve Martel, a professor of Geology and Geophysics at UH Manoa.

Those conditions, Martel explained, include steep slopes, volcanic rock, high rainfall and dense vegetation.  All of that can be found near the Pali slide area.

"Something about the details of the geology there has made it prone to landslides and rockfalls for many many years".

Martel stated that he doubts the mitigation Saturday had anything to do with the slide on Monday.

"It's not necessarily correct that it's common to have sliding in the midst of mitigation procedures, it would tend to be coincidental".

Also, Martel downplayed the short-term effects of removing plants as exacerbating slope failure, saying the roots stay alive for days after.

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