Updated at 8:30 a.m.
After inspecting the newly formed cracks, DOT officials say they have determined that Highway 130 from Malama Street to Kamaili Road is safe and will be opening to local traffic.
“We will conduct continuous monitoring of the roadway and may shut the road down if hazardous conditions develop,” officials say.
The roadway will be open at 1 p.m. on May 15 and then local traffic only between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. as long as it is deemed safe.
Update at 6:30 a.m. on May 15.
Officials from the Hawai`i Department of Transportation say Highway 130 will not reopen on Tuesday morning, as previously planned.
New cracks developed overnight preventing the reopening.
Original story published at 4:11 p.m. on May 14.
The Hawai`i Department of Transportation will reopen Keaau-Pahoa Road (Highway 130) from Malama Street to Kamaili Road to local traffic at the request of the County of Hawaii at 7 a.m. Tuesday, May 15.
The reopening of Highway 130 was deemed crucial as Highway 132 was closed to through traffic at Pohoiki Road through May 14.
“The safety of those living in lower Puna is our number one priority,” said Governor David Ige. “We will continue to support the County of Hawai`i without reservation in their efforts to maintain transportation access for affected residents.”
Highway 130 from Malama Street to Kamaili Road to the vicinity of Leilani Estates was closed due to road cracking that could be related to potential fissures. Metal plates will be placed over the crackling from mile markers 14.4 and 14.6 to maintain two lanes of traffic.
Time restrictions for access are necessary as HDOT and county employees must monitor conditions along the route.
The limited local access will be permitted daily, between 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., as long as conditions allow.
“Currently, the roadway appears stable; however, sulfur dioxide is emitting from the cracks,” HDOT officials say. “HDOT is investigating the installation of electronic monitors at these sites to monitor for heat and gas levels. Physical surveillance to ensure Highway 130 in the East Rift Zone is safe for local traffic will be conducted by HDOT and county employees while the route is open.”
HDOT continues to work with federal, state, and county partners to prepare alternate routes for the areas affected by the Kilauea Volcano East Rift Zone Eruption. Planning for alternative routes includes the removal of one mile of solidified lava from Chain of Craters Road and the potential use of “lava bridge” technology on Highway 130. The lava bridge concept would involve the use of insulated mats that are heat resistant to 2000-degrees to maintain access to Highway 130 as long as possible.
The alternate routes using Highway 137 (Old Government Beach Road), Kahakai Boulevard in Hawaiian Beaches and Makuu Drive in Hawaiian Paradise Park are open and accessible to local traffic. The Old Government Beach Road is mostly unimproved gravel road. HDOT has assisted the County in grading of Highway 137 north of Highway 132 as a detour to Highway 130. Additional interim measures to maintain access to lower Puna may include reestablishment of cracked routes through the use of a combination of steel plates and fill (i.e., protective insulated material) to insulate the plates from heat or heat resistant concrete panels and active monitoring.
Updates on the preparation of potential alternate routes for lower Puna will be provided as the situation continues to develop.
Cracks in Highway 130 at 9:30 a.m. on May 7, Orange paint was used to outline the cracks. USGS photo.