(BIVN) – A new emergency rule was enacted on Wednesday in a continuing effort to crack down on parking and walking along the Daniel K. Inouye Highway on the Saddle-area of Hawaiʻi island, where residents and visitors are gathering for an evening view of the Mauna Loa eruption.
A previous Emergency Rule signed by Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth established no parking zones between mile marker 16 and mile marker 31 of the highway formerly known as Saddle Road. The new Emergency Rule #2 extends the prohibition area from mile marker 16 all the way to the Highway 190 intersection.
From the County of Hawaiʻi on Wednesday evening:
Mayor Mitch Roth issued Mayor’s Emergency Rule #2 relating to the ongoing Mauna Loa earlier today, November 30. The emergency rule prohibits parking and traversing/walking on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway and its shoulders between the 16-mile marker ending at the intersection of the DKI Highway and Highway 190 (also known as Hawaiʻi Belt Road). The rule also makes clarifications to the first clause by specifying government employees and contractors acting in their official capacity. This restriction is necessary due to the presently ongoing and active volcanic eruption of Mauna Loa in the Northeast Rift Zone, creating unsafe road conditions and hazards due to increased vehicle and pedestrian activity.
“Our Emergency Rule #2 is again an effort to respond to the increased dangers along the roadway that have become apparent as the eruption along Mauna Loa’s Northeast Rift Zone continues,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. Two individuals were injured last night reentering the roadway from the shoulder lane, and that’s not something that we would like to see again. Our rules are in place to ensure peoples’ safety, and we stand by what we’re doing. At the same time, we’re actively seeking solutions to get safer viewing access for our many residents and their families who are, like us, in awe of the beauty and wonder of the current eruption.”
The Gilbert Kahele Recreational Area, including both the lower and upper bathrooms, will remain open 24-hrs a day until further notice. Security guards will be on-site nightly from 6:15 pm – 6:15 am.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the lava flow front remained about 3.6 miles (5.8 km) from the Daniel K. Inouye Highway. The lava is beginning to slow down, and forecasts “indicate it may take two days for lava flows to reach” the cross-island highway.