Project Details

Hawaii Route 61 – Pali Highway | Honolulu, Hawai‘i


Hawaii Route 61, better known as the Pali Highway, is one of three highways that connect O‘ahu’s windward (east) side to its south and west sides. This highway leads from downtown Honolulu, ascends through Nu‘uanu Valley and the Nu‘uanu Pali Tunnels, and descends into Kaneohe and Kailua. The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) initiated this project to make improvements to a 7.5-mile stretch of the highway. However, heavy rains unexpectedly changed the project.



GBI’s initial scope of work included five miles of AC pavement reconstruction and resurfacing, 4.3 miles of guardrail replacement, 3.3 miles of concrete median barrier, the installation of lighting systems over the full 7.5 miles, and other elements. Nearly a year into the project, a landslide sent debris down onto Old Pali Road, which sits above the Pali Highway. The large volume of debris overwhelmed Old Pali Road, and concrete, boulders, and other debris eventually came crashing down onto the Pali Highway’s Honolulu-bound lanes below. A second landslide sent large volumes of dirt onto the Kailua-bound lanes. The highway was immediately shut down and a rockfall mitigation contractor cleared the slopes of immediate hazards. To protect the public, HDOT devised a two-part landslide mitigation system that included an 80-foot-long rock shed structure. GBI began construction on the rock shed in May of 2019 and completed the landslide mitigation project and the original highway improvements project in January of 2020.


Despite being an emergency job, the rock shed design had to meet environmental and historic preservation regulations before the structure was built. Given the historic significance of the Pali Highway and its tunnels, the new rock shed had to match the highway’s aesthetics. For the face of the new structure, precast slabs were built to imitate the adjacent existing portal face. Additionally, special concrete coloring was used to match the weathered look of the existing concrete surfaces.



Project Details

Region: Oahu
Client: Hawaii Department of Transportation
Market: Transportation
Sub-Market: Bridges/Structures
Value: $64 million
Completed: 2020
Services: Demolition / Site Clearing Restoration / Remediation Emergency Response Overlays / AC Paving Concrete Dry Utilities

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