A project to upgrade lighting on state highways will close the Pali and Likelike Highways at night next week, as new lighting is installed in the Pali and Wilson tunnels.
"This is all part of the highways lighting programs," said state Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara. "We're upgrading the lighting all over the island as part of this project, and so that's where the crews are at, at this point."
The state has been replacing the old sodium street lights on all roadways that are under the DOT's jurisdiction. And will now include the tunnels.
"It's upgrading the lighting to brand new, energy-efficient LED lights which are brighter, more efficient and safer as well, considering all the coverage," said Sakahara.
The Pali Tunnels still have the old orange sodium lights, which will be replaced during the nighttime highway closure. When the work is done, it should look like the Honolulu-bound Wilson Tunnel, which has the new lighting.
"Anyone who has gone through there, I'm sure, has noticed, and the feedback we've received is very positive," said Sakahara. "People have written saying that it is so much brighter and clearer when they travel through the tunnel."
The American Medical Association has claimed that some LED street lamps worsen glare more than conventional lighting because they emit a high degree of blue light that can decrease visual acuity and create road hazards. Some of the newer LED's have less blue light.
Transportation officials have also installed the LED lighting not just on highways, but at airports and harbors as well. They say it will increase safety and save the state money.
The closures will begin Sunday night, when the Likelike Highway will be closed in the Kaneohe-bound direction between Valley View Drive and Kahekili Highway between 9:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. The highway will also be closed again Monday night and Tuesday night.
The Pali Highway will be closed in the Honolulu-bound direction between Kamehameha Highway to Waokanaka Street Wednesday and Thursday nights between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m.
DOT officials say the lighting upgrades will increase safety and savings for the state.
"Over the next 20 years, the state's going to see some $680 million dollars in guaranteed savings in just electricity costs," said Sakahara. "So it is a big impact."