Repair work to close Pali Highway this weekend

The Feb. 28 landslide on the Pali Highway.
The Feb. 28 landslide on the Pali Highway.

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Detour ahead. The Pali highway will be closed all weekend in both directions. The State Department of Transportation says they have to remove a chunk of the mountain before it comes crashing down.  

The state hoped to do the work without much impact to traffic but upon further review engineers want to be safe and will close the highway.

Late last month a portion of the mountain came down onto the road and the state wants to prevent that from happening again.

"We have to take away part of this mountain side. Basically there is a stream that used to flow in this area back before they built the Pali Highway. They diverted that stream or did everything they could to divert the stream and they dug in this canyon where the hairpin turn comes through, well, the water found its way back and its getting underneath the soil and underneath the soil and the rock and that's created the situation where we could perhaps have a landslide," said Dan Meisenzahl, Department of Transportation Spokesperson.

Water is seeping through the mountain. They need to divert it again to prevent even more rocks and roots from being exposed.  In order to do all the work they have to shut down the highway.

"We understand that to close the entire Pali Highway is a pretty extreme maneuver but it's something we feel we have to do," said Meisenzahl.

This weekend the Pali will be closed from 8:00 Friday night until 3:00 Monday morning.  Both directions will be closed from Waokanaka Street in town to Castle Junction in Kailua.  That also means Pali lookout will be closed this weekend.

Next week the state will close Kailua bound lanes from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm in order to finish the work on the mountainside.

"A thousand apologies from the Department of Transportation. This is not something we would do unless we really thought it was necessary to do," said Meisenzahl.

The Windward side has three other ways to get around including the H3 freeway, the Likelike Highway and the work on Kalanianaole Highway near Makapuu is now complete and wide open if you want to take the scenic route.

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