(BIVN) – Lava-locked kipuka resident Debra Kalaluhi ran to greet a returning family this morning, and embraced the elated motorists as their vehicle crossed over the lava flow for the first time.
On Monday morning, Puna Geothermal Venture opened the Pioneer Road to residents for the first time.
Many of the residents who still have homes or property in the isolated section of Puna have been making a difficult hike over the hardened (but still hot and, at times, steaming) lava flow in order to get home. But now, thanks to the temporary road constructed by Puna Geothermal Venture, the residents can take their cars in. Which means they can do many things others take for granted, like shop for groceries, buy supplies, or take rubbish to the transfer station.
PGV, which leases the land owned by Kapoho Land and Development Co., is providing security at the Pioneer Road checkpoint. Residents driving in need to be on a list, sign a waiver, and come and go according to specific times of access, which may change over time.
It has been reported that 56 properties remain in the lava-locked kipuka.
Big Island Video News has published a longer video showing Monday’s opening of the Pioneer Road.