Pali Highway Partially Re-opened

Chopper 8 shows crews working to clear debris outside the town-bound Pali Tunnel on Thursday morning
Chopper 8 shows crews working to clear debris outside the town-bound Pali Tunnel on Thursday morning

NUUANU PALI (KHNL) - Once again, the Pali Highway is partially opened for the Thursday morning commute. Officials shut it down, Wednesday morning, after heavy rain caused several landslides.

State Department of Transportation spokesperson, Scott Ishikawa spoke with KHNL News Eight early Thursday morning.

Marvin: At this moment, where do we stand?

Scott: Well right now, we have opened a contra flow this morning to get the Windward residents to work and school. Now, if you're going to use the Pali this morning, you're going to have to cross over to the other side of the highway, contra flow to the other side of the highway, near St. Stephens, it's just before the tunnel. After we get you past the tunnel we're going to get you back to the regular side of the highway. The whole intent is to have the drivers avoid that particular hillside where we had the mud slide yesterday. We will have an inspector go out today, take a look at it, see if the slope is stabilized or not.

Marvin: As you alluded to, yesterday's been crazy with the mud slide and the work, what other kinds of work has been done overnight, not only with the landslide, but with the state?

Scott: We had a couple number of smaller landslides, or mud slides, near Kapaa Quarry Road, and other parts of the Windward side, now those were taken care of pretty quickly, but obviously the biggest one was near the Pali, that one was so big it went across both directions of the highway. We had to keep it shut throughout the night, because we were so busy, there were some trees that were actually leaning off the slope, we had to take down, before we decided to reopen it this morning.

Marvin: Have you had a chance to take a latest assessment of the stability of that hillside?

Scott: Not really in the cover of darkness, but we know last night, that the waterfall, that was in all the video footage, it's still going, but that can just give you an indication of how hard it's been raining the past 24-48 hours. And something else we want to mention, the roads are really wet right now, like Danielle Tucker was saying, so please take it easy, we want to get everyone into town safely, we don't want any accidents, and just drive, be patient.

Marvin: Probably one of the bigger questions on everyone's mind, as best you can, when will the Pali highway be reopened totally, based on the rains that we're experiencing right now.

Scott: What we're going to do right now, is from 4 am to noon, we're going to keep that contra flow open, to get the Windward residents into town, probably after noon today, we're going to open it up so we can get the folks home to the Kailua bound direction, but we'll have an inspector out there probably mid morning today to check it out. If we find the slope is stabilized, we find it safe, we'll reopen the highway in both directions at that point.