Journeyman tile setters Fred Raymond, left, Eddie Bright and Fabian Manumaleuna work on the walls of the Honolulu-bound stretch of Wilson Tunnel.

Likelike repair
horror begins

Months of renovations will close
or divert traffic in Wilson Tunnel

Starting this morning, the Likelike Highway tunnel in the Kaneohe-bound direction will be closed for 30 days while crews tear up and resurface the equivalent of 1.25 football fields of concrete.

From today until Aug. 5, the Kaneohe-bound Wilson Tunnel will be closed 24 hours a day so that crews can lay a new concrete floor that will provide more traction, particularly when it is rainy, inside the 2,800-foot-long tunnel, according to the state Department of Transportation.

During the afternoon rush hour, from 1 to 8 p.m., homebound Windward commuters will be directed to a contra-flow lane in the Honolulu-bound tunnel. During that weekday contra-flow period, Honolulu-bound drivers will be directed to use the Pali Highway or the H-3 freeway.

During the construction period from today to Aug. 5, both directions of Likelike Highway will be closed nights from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays for night construction.

Electronic message signs have been posted along roadways to update drivers on road closures, times and detours. Tunnel closure times and the contra-flow routes also can be viewed at the Department of Transportation's Web site www.hawaii.gov/dot/publicaffairs.

From Sept. 6 until Oct. 6, work will shift to the Honolulu-bound tunnel.

The entire $13.8 million Wilson Tunnel project, which started in the spring of 2004, is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The project work includes repairing tunnel leaks and cracks, laying the new concrete floor, replacing ventilation equipment, improving drainage and installing ceramic tiles in light blue, light green and white to improve visibility for drivers inside the tunnel.

When the tunnels are completed, about 2.5 football fields of roadway will have been torn up and replaced, and about 1 million ceramic tiles, which are easier to clean, will have been installed. Work to replace wall tiles, repair leaks and improve drainage was completed earlier this year.

The tunnels, constructed in the late 1950s, were last renovated in 1979. In 1988 the city transferred management and maintenance of the tunnels to the state.

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