We were having dinner with friends in Kaneohe yesterday (Saturday), and got a text from them warning that the Pali tunnel back to town was going to be closed after 7 p.m.
I figured we would see some signage as we got to the tunnels confirming the closure. Nope. There was nothing advising drivers heading over to the windward side that they wouldn’t be able to return via the same route.
So we did the normal thing. While I drove, Meda jumped online looking for news of the tunnel closing.
This is what was posted on the State Department of Transportation website under the headline “WEEKEND LANE CLOSURES For the weekend of Friday, March 10, to Sunday, March 12”.
The list is updated each Thursday for the coming weekend, according to the website. That sounds nice and timely.
And there was Pali Highway. Was there really a shutdown scheduled for Saturday night?
The first item says the closings wouldn’t begin until Sunday night. March 12. Not Saturday, March 11. Item #2 said there would be lane closures Saturday , but that would be over by 1:30 p.m. No problem. Same with #3 and #4, lane closures that would end long before Saturday night.
So we concluded that our friend was confused about the scheduled closing. After all, the Department of Transportation would obviously post information if one of the main routes between the two sides of Oahu was going to be closed during prime hours. Right?
Here’s what was posted. Nothing about a Saturday night closure.
— PALI HIGHWAY —
1) KAILUA TO HONOLULU (WEEKEND/NIGHT WORK)
Closure of the Pali Highway in the Honolulu-bound direction between Kamehameha Highway and Waokanaka Street on Sunday night, March 12, through Friday morning, March 17, from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., nightly, for tunnel lighting replacements.
2) NUUANU (WEEKEND WORK)
Right lane closure on the Pali Highway in the Honolulu-bound direction between the Pali Tunnels and Waokanaka Street on Saturday, March 11, from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., for maintenance work.
3) NUUANU (WEEKEND WORK)
Roving lane closure on the Pali Highway in the Honolulu-bound direction at the Waokanaka Street intersection on Saturday, March 11, from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., for maintenance work.
4) NUUANU (WEEKEND/NIGHT WORK)
Alternating lane closure on the Pali Highway in both directions between Dowsett Avenue and Country Club Road on Friday night, March 10, through Saturday morning, March 11, from 9:30 p.m. to 3 a.m., for maintenance work.
The answer: Wrong. We left our friends’ house a little after 9 p.m. and, sure enough, as we approached the intersection with Pali Highway, the police cars and traffic barriers prevented drivers from continuing up towards the tunnels. So we joined the line of cars looking for a place to turn around and head back to Likelike or H-3.
So what’s the story, DOT?
How did the incorrect information get posted? And if plans changed, why wasn’t the website updated?
Is it too much for the public to expect that you should do your job?