Heavy Rains Add to Misery for Drivers Caught in Pali Landslide

Scott Ishikawa
Scott Ishikawa

Nov 2, 2006 12:53 AM

by Kristine Uyeno

NUUANU PALI (KHNL) - The downpour is creating a nightmare for drivers, especially those who use the Pali Highway.

Since about 10:30 AM, it has been closed from Waokanaka to Castle Junction.

"You know talking to our guys we've never experienced mud or erosion before and it's just raining cats and dogs for the last 24 hours and the ground is saturated at this point," said Scott Ishikawa, spokesperson for the Department of Transportation.

Heavy rains in a short amount of time caused part of the hill to slide onto the road, blocking all Honolulu-bound lanes and stretching to the other side of the highway.

Officials are concerned that at any time, the hillside will give way and more mud, water and debris will come crashing down.

One driver slammed into Mother Nature's mess before the highway was closed, but the driver wasn't hurt. Fortunately, this happened before the lunch hour, so it gave transportation officials some time to spread the word before the afternoon commute.

"I think it's terrible, it's backing up all the traffic," said one driver.

"So I had class at 12:30 so I'm assuming the teacher will let me off or something," said Ivan Fujii, HPU student.

"As long as the rain's not letting up, the mud and water will continue to come on the road and that really turns into a safety hazard," said Ishikawa.

Drivers are being diverted to the H-3 and Likelike Highway.

Transportation officials say the Pali will be closed until at least, the late evening hours.