(ABOVE PHOTO) Contractors, working from each end of the Chain of Craters Road emergency access route, met in the middle on Wednesday. Photo courtesy the National Park Service.
- The rough grade of the Chain of Craters Road was completed on Wednesday. Contractors will now begin crushing excavated material for the road bed. Officials estimate it will take 30 to 45 days to complete the entire project.
- Lower Puna residents will be able to access the route if/when lava from the June 27 flow crosses Highway 130 and Railroad Avenue. The National Park Service says the emergency access route will not be open to the public or park visitors. Residents will receive a free window decal for access through the park.
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is currently seeking public comment on the environmental review and decision regarding the construction and use of the emergency access route. The environmental review was completed in accordance with alternative NEPA arrangements developed by and in consultation with the Department of Interior and the President’s Council on Environmental Quality. More info at: parkplanning.nps.gov/havo. The deadline to comment is December 5th, 2014.
The joining of the two sides of Chain of Craters Road was a milestone event and was covered from the air and the ground. Photos released by the National Park show Mayor Billy Kenoi, County Public Works Director Warren Lee, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park superintendent Cindy Orlando arm-in-arm in celebration. But concerns loom over access. As recently as a few days ago, Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator Darryl Oliveira said the county was still trying to work out the details on who could use Chain of Craters and how it would be managed. Today’s National Park Service media release indicates that the park intends to go forward with a “residents only” plan, issuing decals to approved vehicles. The restricted access plan raised concerns among island residents as news hit social media.
Significant progress has been made on the Chain of Craters Kalapana Road since work began in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on October 24. Today the contractors, working from each end, met in the middle. This completes the rough grade of the road. Work will now begin on crushing excavated material for the road bed. The finished road will be a gravel surfaced 22-foot-wide two-lane road. The road is scheduled to be completed in the next 30-45 days, weather and construction conditions permitting.
Lower Puna residents will be able to access the route after the lava has crossed Highway 130 and Railroad Avenue and the National Park Service has determined that the road is safe for vehicles. The emergency access route will not be open to the public or park visitors. Residents will receive a free window decal for access through the park.National Park Service on November 5, 2014