Last week’s heavy downpours didn’t just dump record-setting rainfall on Oahu for June. Instead, the June 25 deluge also ensured the island’s Windward and Windward-bound commuters will have to deal with Pali Highway closures for at least another three months.

On Monday, the Hawaii Department of Transportation announced that it’s extending the repair work to protect the Pali tunnels against landslides through November.

The agency previously hoped to finish that work sometime in August. However, after last week’s downpour, officials have decided they need to protect more slopes in the area, requiring more design work, catchment fencing and other features, it announced in a news release.

Spotter Bastian Goelz with Prometheus Construction keeps his eye on potential falling rocks from above and is equipped with a horn to warn co workers of debris, boulders or any landslide above the work area along the Old Pali Road, site of the landslide that flowed onto the Kailua bound lanes of the Pali Highway.
In March, spotter Bastian Goelz, with Prometheus Construction, keeps his eye on potential falling rocks from above and is equipped with a horn to warn co workers of debris, boulders or any landslide above the work area along the Old Pali Road, site of the landslide that flowed onto the Kailua bound lanes of the Pali Highway. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The repair work started in February after landslides and rock fall collapsed onto the roadway in both directions at the tunnels. DOT officials said it was fortunate no one was driving through right when it happened. Drivers have had limited access to the tunnels via one-directional contraflow ever since.

There is a silver lining, however: In August, DOT  will expand its Sunday-through Friday contraflow hours for drivers. The morning Honolulu-bound contraflow will run 5 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and the evening Kailua/Kaneohe-bound contraflow will run 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Then, in September, the agency intends to open the Pali in both directions 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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