Full Wilson Tunnel Honolulu-bound closures to begin Tuesday

Local News

The Hawaii Department of Transportation has received the parts and materials needed to complete the emergency repairs inside the Wilson Tunnel on the Likelike Highway.

So beginning Tuesday, Oct. 20, from 9 p.m.-4 a.m., both lanes of the Honolulu-bound direction of Likelike Highway will be closed from the H-3 Freeway split through the tunnel. The closures will be in effect every night until the repairs are finished.

In addition, one lane of the Likelike Highway in the Kaneohe-bound direction will be closed beginning Saturday, Oct. 24, for concrete repairs from 9 p.m.-4 a.m. The one lane closure may continue for 10 nights. Lane closure equipment will be set up at the beginning of the work and removed at the end of the shift. The speed limit has been reduced from 35 mph to 25 mph inside the work area.

On Sunday and Monday, Nov. 1 and 2, both lanes of the Kaneohe-bound direction are scheduled to be closed for repairs from 9 p.m.-4 a.m. The closure will begin at Valley View Drive and continue through the Wilson Tunnel. Two of the more than 350 rods in the ceiling area will be replaced. In this situation, at least one lane of the Honolulu-bound direction will remain open.

The dates listed above are estimates, but if the work can be expedited, the closure days may move ahead of schedule. The public will be informed of any date changes as soon as possible.

The project is estimated to be complete by Nov. 9.

“We have to go up there and actually drill holes through cement, put in anchors, and then replace damaged rods that were helping to support the ceiling structure inside the tunnel,” said DOT spokesman Tim Sakahara.

Officials stress the work is for emergency repairs. “We’re really getting and doing what we can in order to open both lanes of the tunnel full-time initially,” Sakahara said. “We’re going to have to come back down the road and either renovate some of the existing rods or just come up with a long-term plan.”

The Pali Highway and H-3 Freeway remain open and viable alternatives. Motorists are urged to check traffic conditions before starting their trip.

Damage to eight stainless steel rods which help support the tunnel ceiling was discovered during a routine inspection on Sept. 25, 2015.

During an additional inspection, 22 other rods were identified as having some damage.

The cost of the design and repairs is $1.3 million.

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