Work begins on Chain of Craters-Kalapana Road evacuation route

A bulldozer removes hardened lava
A bulldozer prepares Chain of Craters-Kalapana Road as an emergency evacuation route for the community.

NPS Photo/Mike Theune

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News Release Date: May 30, 2018

Contact: Jessica Ferracane, 808-345-4216

Contact: Shelly Kunishige, 808-587-2160

The National Park Service and Hawai‘i Department of Transportation have signed an agreement to prepare Chain of Craters-Kalapana Road as an evacuation route through Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park should Highway 130 be cut off by lava from the Kīlauea eruption.

Work began May 30 to remove a 0.7-mile-wide section of solidified lava from the now-defunct 61g lava flow that covered the emergency road in 2016 and 2017. Rough grading and other reconstruction efforts to make the eight-mile length of coastal road passable are expected to take two weeks or less. The route is for evacuation purposes only, and will not be an alternate route for travel to and from the Kalapana area.

Measures will be taken to prevent adverse impacts to the natural and cultural resources within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. These include a thorough inspection of all vehicles and equipment for invasive species including little fire ants and coqui frogs.

Chain of Craters Road spans 19 miles from the summit area of Kīlauea Volcano to the Hōlei Sea Arch in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The eight-mile section (Chain of Craters-Kalapana Road) along the coast that once connected the park to Kalapana has been closed for years, but was recently reconstructed as an evacuation route in 2014. It was covered in lava in 2016 and 2017. Opened in 1965, the road has been blocked by lava for 41 of its 53-year-existence.

The public is reminded that this section of the park remains closed due to increased and hazardous volcanic and seismic activity.

Goodfellows Bros., Inc., the contractor that worked to clear the emergency route in the 2014 Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō lava flow, is doing the rough grading work on Chain of Craters Road.

Last updated: June 6, 2018

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