Emergency work on Pali Highway to close Kailua-bound traffic

It was a traffic nightmare earlier this month that shut down the Pali Highway Kailua bound for 12 hours.

A massive mudslide took 20 truck loads to clear. It was a mess the state doesn’t want to happen again.

“Since then, there’s been some debris coming down, some tree branches, and small rocks. So they really wanna get in there and take care of it,”  State Department of Transportation Spokesperson Caroline Sluyter said.

The recent downpour of rain hasn’t helped the situation either, and so the state is eager to get it done soon.

“Definitely going past that landslide, I get nervous the mud will come off that hill again. Especially since it’s been raining so much. So it definitely needs to get fixed,” Kailua resident Sarah Pardieck said.

The trouble area is in such a tough place to get to, that the only way to do slope work is for crews to once again close all lanes of the Pali in the Kailua-bound direction.

The closure will be from Waokanaka Street to Kamehameha Highway on Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Drivers can take the Likelike Highway or H-3 Freeway instead, but Kailua residents worry that will cause a backup.

“An inconvenience for me. I live in Kaneohe. I’ll have to take a back route and that will be backed up,” Kailua resident Mercedes Miller said.

Miller works at Lanikai Juice and says her boss also won’t be happy.

About 60 percent of their business comes from Waikiki visitors taking the Pali Highway into Kailua.

She expects the slope work may keep them away, adding up to thousands of dollars in losses.

“Saturday we usually have a line out the door. It’s our busiest day. Everyone is out from school, people have work off,” Miller said.

The state says they wanted to avoid weekday rush hour and traffic during Sunday’s Big Game.

“We don’t wanna do it on Superbowl Sunday,” Sluyter said.

“I’m glad they are looking out for our safety. I don’t want to get washed off the mountain,” Pardieck said.

The DOT is watching the weather for Saturday. If it’s too rainy, the slope work will have to be rescheduled.

KHON2 will keep you updated if that happens.

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