CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The townbound lanes of the Pali Highway were covered with mud as work crews tried to divert a stream of water into a nearby drain. The Pali tunnels were closed yesterday by a landslide created by the runoff on Wednesday. CLICK FOR LARGE
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Cleared Pali Highway reopens
A geologist determines that the hillside is stable after fractured rock was washed off by flowing water
The Pali Highway is back.
Townbound and Kailua-bound lanes were open last night after state Department of Transportation workers finished clearing Wednesday's mudslide debris.
Yesterday afternoon, workers diverted rainwater runoff that had been spilling onto the closed Honolulu-bound lanes where the mudslide hit hardest, transportation spokesman Scott Ishikawa said.
"That waterfall was giving us problems, washing dirt and mud onto the road," he said.
By rerouting the flowing water into a nearby drainage channel, the cleanup of the highway surface could proceed, Ishikawa said.
A geologist with Hirata and Associates determined yesterday that the remaining hillside is stable, Ishikawa said.
"He said that the area that came down in the mudslide was weathered, fractured rock and water got behind it and brought it down," Ishikawa said. "He said what was left is basically strong stuff."
However, portable barriers were put in place between the slide area and the Honolulu-bound lanes last night, Ishikawa said.
An area of hillside about 150 by 125 feet slid onto the Pali Highway just outside the Honolulu side of the tunnels at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
No one was injured in the slide, but one vehicle did run into the debris.
Authorities closed the highway in both directions on Wednesday, forcing commuters returning to Windward Oahu to use the Likelike, Kalanianaole and H-3 highways.
Workers with the Transportation Department and contractor Tajiri Lumber were able to clear the Kailua-bound lanes in time for yesterday's morning commute.
Yesterday, the Kailua-bound lanes of the Pali were used for Honolulu-bound traffic until noon, then reversed to handle Kailua-bound traffic after 12:30 p.m.
Ishikawa wasn't sure whether any additional work would be required on the hillside.
City buses serving Windward Oahu that had diverted to the Likelike Highway will resume using the Pali Highway today, according to city spokesman Bill Brennan.
About 80 truckloads of dirt, rocks, mud and trees were removed from the Pali on Wednesday, Transportation Department worker Scott Naileimaile said.