From landslides to lava: HDOT handles the road ahead

Posted on Nov 27, 2019 in Capitol Connection, Featured
Governor Ige, HDOT director Jade Butay and highways deputy Ed Sniffen inspect the new rock shed protection at the Pali.

Governor Ige, HDOT director Jade Butay and highways deputy director Ed Sniffen inspect the new rock shed protection at the Pali.

HDOT lava panels on Hawai'i island restored access on Highway 130 after the Kīlauea eruption.

HDOT lava panels on Hawai’i island restored access on Highway 130 after the Kīlauea eruption.

Boulders the size of cars. Hanging chunks of concrete. That was the scene several months ago when heavy rains triggered a massive landslide onto O‘ahu’s Pali Highway. The good news is that the state Department of Transportation (HDOT) is in the process of completing $27 million in emergency repairs — 80 percent of which was covered by the federal government. “We’ve also taken landslide prevention measures in other areas statewide, such as on Maui, Kaua‘i and other parts of O‘ahu that were hit by floods last year,” said deputy director Ed Sniffen.

A pedestrian uses one of the five raised crosswalks on Kalihi Street installed in May 2019.

A pedestrian uses one of the five raised crosswalks on Kalihi Street installed in May 2019.

Rockfall prevention is just part of how HDOT is working toward Governor Ige’s sustainable transportation goals. When disaster strikes — whether it’s a volcanic eruption on Hawai‘i island or record flooding on Kaua‘i and other islands — the department is rebuilding infrastructure and incorporating additional safety and sustainability measures using new technology. After the Kīlauea eruption, HDOT installed heat-resistant roadway panels on Highway 130, restoring vital access. They’re also using carbon-injected concrete — a “greener” version of traditional concrete — to offset CO2 emissions. In addition, the department is focused on pedestrian safety through new raised crosswalks in three school zones and new traffic cameras to help motorists on Kaua‘i and Maui via the GoAkamai.org website.

 

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