On Jan. 24, 2018, the Hawaii DOT’s (HDOT) Highways Division held a blessing ceremony for the Pali Highway Improvements Project.

This project, which began in December 2017, replaced streetlights from Vineyard Boulevard to Kamehameha Highway and repaved Pali Highway from Waokanaka Street to Kamehameha Highway, including the parallel Waokanaka Street.The project gave the roadway a much-needed face-lift, as well as other improvements. The scope of work included new lighting systems over the full 7.5 miles of roadway, asphalt pavement reconstruction and resurfacing for 5 miles from Waokanaka Street to Castle Junction, 4.3 miles of guardrail replacement, and 3.3 miles of concrete median barrier, along with other, smaller elements.

And in addition to the planned scope of work, emergency work was added to the project after landslides impacted the project area.Due to the narrow width of some areas of the median, the existing highway light poles were too close to the guardrail, so the guardrail may not have adequately protected errant vehicles from hitting a light pole. In those narrower areas, the guardrail was replaced with concrete median barrier, and the light poles were placed on top.

HDOT has been moving away from the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 350 crash testing procedures and towards using AASHTO’s Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH). As such, the jersey-shaped barriers used in the HDOT Standard Details are no longer valid. The project settled on a single slope concrete median barrier used by California DOT (Caltrans) that was MASH compliant.