State acknowledges perfect storm of road work that triggered gridlock into Windward Oahu

Likelike Highway

This past Saturday night, thousands of motorists got stuck in gridlock heading into Windward Oahu.

Many expressed their frustrations, saying it was due to poor planning on the part of the state.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation shut down Pali Highway for routine tunnel maintenance. The closure extended from 7 p.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday from Waokanaka Street on the leeward side to the Kamehameha Highway intersection on the windward side.

That meant more people were funneled onto Likelike Highway to get home.

The problem is that the state is in the middle of a major repaving project on Liklelike Highway and on Saturday night, one of the highway’s two Kaneohe-bound lanes was closed, creating a major bottleneck. Work started at 8:30 p.m. Friday and continued straight through 5 a.m. Monday.

“It just happened to line up,” said DOT spokeswoman Shelly Kunishige. “We try to schedule these closures for the weekend to hopefully limit the impact to the traveling public, but in this case, with one lane permanently closed on Likelike and the tunnel closures, we happened to have impacted those folks heading to the Windward side.”

Kunishige added, “We regret that people were inconvenienced.”

The Likelike Highway repaving is expected to continue until the end of the year.

To keep you posted on what’s happening on the roads, we list all of the state’s roadwork for the week online here.

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