(BIVN) – The lava viewing area established along the Old Saddle Road during the eruption of Mauna Loa is winding down, now that the volcano has been downgraded from a WATCH to an ADVISORY alert level.
From the County of Hawaiʻi:
Mayor Mitch Roth announced this morning that the Traffic Hazard Mitigation Route (THMR), set up as a result of the Mauna Loa eruption, will begin winding down today, December 13, closing permanently by December 16. The THMR was opened on December 1 and has been utilized by nearly 30,000 vehicles who accessed the roadway to get safe viewing points of the Mauna Loa eruption. No incidents were reported on or around the roadway throughout the 13 days of operation.
As a result of the wind-down, the THMR remains open today, December 13, until midnight. Beginning tomorrow, December 14, through Thursday, December 15, the THMR will only be open to the public between the hours of 4 pm and 12 am. The THMR will permanently close at 12 am, Friday, December 16.
“We’re proud to have stood up a safe access point to the Mauna Loa eruption for our residents and visitors to enjoy the beauty of Pele,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “Our administration was committed to the health and safety of our community throughout the eruption, and the THMR is just one small example of the work our teams and partners put in to keep everyone safe and informed.”
Gil Kahele Recreational Area will remain open 24 hours daily past December 16 for individuals looking to view the remnants of the eruption. Due to the anticipated traffic at the park, access to both the upper and lower restroom areas will be available. Parks staff requests that visitors keep their visit to under 90 minutes to help ensure accommodation for all passing by.
“We could not have made the route happen without the help of our State and Federal partners, including Governor Green, Director Sniffen, LTC. Cronin from Pōhakuloa Training Area, and General Hara. Also deserving of a special mahalo is our Parks, Public Works, and Civil Defense staff who worked through the planning and execution of the THMR,” Roth continued.