(BIVN) – A total of 20 Hawaiʻi Army National Guard troops have arrived on Hawaiʻi island, activated to help Hawaiʻi County in its response to the eruption of Mauna Loa volcano.
Presently, the National Guard is helping to keep motorists safe, in and around the eruption viewing area set up along the Old Saddle Road. Named the Traffic Hazard Mitigation Route (THMR) by officials, the area will now see approximately ten guardsmen posted in 12-hour shifts. “Their presence is expected as long as the need is there,” a County news release stated.
“Guardsmen are here to help with the increased traffic along our Traffic Hazard Mitigation Route,” said Maurice Messina, Director of Parks and Recreation. “They’re here to be aloha ambassadors, ensuring that motorists remain on the appropriate roadway and out of restricted areas, especially as visibility lessens with the weather.”
“We’re excited to have the Guardsmen here with us through our current response to the eruption,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “As more and more vehicles make their way through the mitigation route, it’s imperative that we prioritize the safety of every person and vehicle on the roadway, which requires manpower that we just don’t have on our own. Adequate response relies on the partnership, and we are honored to have great partners in our fellow State and Federal agencies who have stepped up in this time of need to be there for the Hawaiʻi Island community.”