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Chain of Craters Road to be rebuilt as a two-lane roadway

Visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park walk along the closed section of Chain of Craters Road leading to the lava flow which cut-off access to Kaimu. Hawaii 24/7 File Photo

Visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park walk along the closed section of Chain of Craters Road leading to the lava flow which cut-off access to Kaimu. Hawaii 24/7 File Photo

MEDIA RELEASE

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard have been working with Hawaiʻi Island Mayor Billy Kenoi to persuade federal officials to rebuild lava-covered portions of Chain of Craters Road as a two-lane route out of Hawaiʻi Island’s lower Puna District in anticipation of the Kilauea lava flow cutting off access to major roadways this month.

After weeks of collaboration between county, state, and federal officials, Sen. Schatz, Rep. Gabbard, and Mayor Kenoi today announced that the National Parks Service (NPS) intends to reestablish the Chain of Craters Road to its original alignment width of 22 feet with a gravel surface, which will be consistent with the width of the existing park roadway segment, and will accommodate two-way traffic along its entire length. This announcement comes at a critical time, as the tip of the lava flow is less than a mile from Pāhoa town.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on a helicopter with Hawaii County officials to get a close look at the Kilauea June 27th Lava Flow, its path toward Pāhoa, access roads in and out of Puna, including the work on Chain of Craters Road. Photo courtesy Rep. Gabbard’s office

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on a helicopter with Hawaii County officials to get a close look at the Kilauea June 27th Lava Flow, its path toward Pāhoa, access roads in and out of Puna, including the work on Chain of Craters Road. Photo courtesy Rep. Gabbard’s office

This morning, Sen. Schatz visited Chain of Craters Road to meet with NPS Superintendent Cindy Orlando and saw first-hand the bulldozer work being done to clear the access road. Rep. Gabbard went on a helicopter with Hawaiʻi County officials and got a close look at the Kilauea lava vent, the path toward Pāhoa that the lava has flowed, all access roads in and out of Puna, to include the active bulldoze clearing ongoing on the county’s portion of Chain of Craters Road.

“This is a win for Puna residents who need access to the rest of the Big Island, and it was a great team effort,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz. “I want to thank Mayor Kenoi, Representative Gabbard, and all of the federal, state, and county agencies for completing a difficult negotiation. Our work isn’t done, but this is an important first step.”

“The people of Puna have faced great uncertainty and difficulty over the last several weeks, first with back to back Hurricanes and Tropical Storms, followed by Kilauea’s lava flow. Ensuring that Chain of Craters Road is rebuilt as soon as possible and that 2-way access is available to the people of Puna now and in the future is absolutely critical,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “Mayor Kenoi’s strong leadership, collaboration with Senator Schatz, and quick action by the community and local leaders proved essential to bringing about this outcome, to enable Puna residents to make their own plans accordingly.”

“We are all very grateful to Senator Schatz, Representative Gabbard, and the entire Hawaiʻi delegation for their efforts on behalf of Lower Puna,” Mayor Billy Kenoi said, “The two-lane, reconstructed Chain of Craters Road will be a lifeline for thousands of our residents, and is essential for the safety and well-being of our working families and our entire community.”

One Response to “Chain of Craters Road to be rebuilt as a two-lane roadway”

  1. Bryan says:

    Do it right the first time and pave it.

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