Hanalei Kauai Road Updates

Updates on Landslide Conditions affecting Kauai's North Shore

Last Updated: August 28, 2021 at 10:00am HST

In March 2021, there was a substantial landslide in Hanalei on Kauai due to severe flooding caused by heavy rains. At this time, we want to note that if you plan to visit the north shore of Kauai before September 4, 2021, there could be delays or possibly even a chance you won't be able to get through to Hanalei.

The State Department of Transportation recently said that it would provide access 24-hours a day starting September 4, 2021. Some traffic restrictions will remain in place, though they will be far less restrictive than before. Starting September 4th, it should be possible to travel in both directions without significant delays.

The island of Kauai also has block sets of times that allow anyone wanting to travel to and from Hanalei access to do so. For travelers planning to make the drive before September 4th, we've included the official DOT schedule below. We've also now included the updated hours that will begin on September 4th immediately below.

John Derrick
Published on: 08-28-2021
Published by: John C. Derrick
Editor / Founder

Recommendations for accessing Hanalei

Tips for September 4th and beyond

The increase in access to Kauai's north shore and to Hanalei marks the wind-down of the emergency phase of construction, which is anticipated to be completed by the end of September or early October 2021, weather permitting.

Since March 2021, the work has consisted of clearing a substantial amount of dirt and debris, drilling and grouting over 500 soil nails into the Kauai hillside for greater stability, and performing road resurfacing work below the slope.

Best times to make the transit

  • Travel on Sundays when there is no construction taking place. State holidays are also a good time to make the transit if possible. Expect little to no wait times.
  • Travel on Monday - Saturdays; 5:30 pm - 7:00 am HST (see the official schedule below). Similar to Sunday, both lanes will allow traffic through continuously. Little to no delays are expected.
  • Travel on Monday - Saturday; 7:00 am - 5:30 pm HST (again, note the official schedule below). Commuters should expect only brief delays during these times. A single lane will remain in operation continuously during this time period, allowing alternating traffic directed by a pilot vehicle to escort them through the construction zone.

What's happening after September 4, 2021?

The final tasks of the construction phase include concrete and drainage preparations on the 19th-century water tunnel located mid-slope. Additional slope stabilization work is expected to start in early January 2022.

Updated Official Highway Access Schedule

For access to the north shore & Hanalei beginning September 4th

Starting Saturday, September 4, 2021, at 5:30 p.m., public access through the Hanalei Hill work zone will be extended. The updated schedule will be as follows:

Single lane alternating traffic (with pilot vehicle escort)
  • Monday-Saturday: 7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Two lanes open (no pilot vehicle)
  • Monday-Saturday: 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 a.m.
  • Sundays/State holidays: All-day

Current suggestions for accessing Hanalei

Tips for accessing the north shore before September 4th

Until September 4th, we expect restrictions to be the new norm until repairs are completed on this stretch of Kauai highway. Traffic continues to be a significant issue of concern, and potential travelers to this area on Kauai should plan accordingly, particularly on weekdays (which we recommend avoiding). Currently, both directions of traffic are only sharing a single lane with supervision by constructions crews and Kauai officials.

Best times to make the transit before Sept 4th

  • Travel on Sundays when there is no construction taking place. State holidays are also a good time to make the transit if possible. Expect an average wait time of 10-20 minutes.
  • Travel on Saturdays is restricted at times (see the official schedule below), but this day still is better than weekdays with more options available to travelers.
  • Weekdays present a maze of restrictions and times to watch out for (again, note the official schedule below). There are only three access times each day, lasting 90-ish minutes each time. We personally advise avoiding weekdays when possible; however, if you must go on a weekday,  aim for the 5:30 pm slot to get through.

Official Highway Access Schedule

Access times are for all dates before September 4, 2021

Provided by Hawaii Department of Transporation (DOT)

Access to Kuhio Highway (Route 560) past Mile Marker 1 leading to Hanalei Bridge is on the schedule below. Vehicles will be escorted through the work zone by a pilot vehicle. Please be advised that you will not be able to drive through the landslide work zone at times outside of the schedule listed below.

Every Saturday:

Public access:

  • 5:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. (Hanalei side goes first)
  • 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
  • 9:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
  • 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
  • 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • 3:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • 5:30 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. (as of Friday - July 16, 2021)
Every Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri:

Public access:

  • 5:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. (Hanalei side goes first)
  • 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Princeville side goes first)
  • 5:30 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. (as of Friday - July 16, 2021) (Princeville side goes first)
Every Wed** :

**Beginning August 4, 2021, the afternoon opening will be: 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Public access:

  • 5:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. (Hanalei side goes first)
  • Currently until August 3, 2021: 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Princeville side goes first)
  • Beginning August 4, 2021: 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Princeville side goes first)
  • 5:30 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. (as of Friday - July 16, 2021) (Princeville side goes first)
Every Sunday and State Holiday (no change to current schedule):

Public access:

  • 5:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. (as of Friday - July 16, 2021) (Hanalei side goes first)

For more information please see the following Hawaii DOT page: https://hidot.hawaii.gov/2021-hanalei-hill-landslide/

HI DOT Construction Area Map (Click to Enlarge)

HI DOT Construction Area Map (Click to Enlarge)

Hanalei Landslide June 2021 Update

Photo by Hawaii Department of Transportation (DOT)

June 15, 2021 Updates from the HI DOT

Hanalei Work progress as of mid-June 2021
  • All 545 planned soil nails to anchor slope have been drilled into place and grouted.
  • Weight restriction to the highway above the slide increased to 10 tons.
  • Design on drainage system continues.

Additional News Resources & Links

According to Beat of Hawaii, the work being done could take three to six months to complete. We'll continue to monitor this situation closely and post updates on this page.

According to an early August 2021 story by The Garden Island (TGI), the Hanalei hill repairs are on schedule for completion soon. TGI further states, "Phase one emergency repairs are expected to conclude at the end of September, with some additional closures and night work. This will allow both lanes of the highway to reopen for the first time since the massive landslide buried the road on March 11, cutting off regular traffic on Kauai's North Shore."

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