Hawaii Highway Closed By Lava In 2018 Eruption Reopens

Nov 28, 2019

HILO — A highway that was cut off by lava flow from an eruption on Hawaii’s Big Island has reopened, officials said.

Portions of Highway 132 were covered by lava during the 2018 eruption of the Kilauea volcano, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Wednesday.

The highway was restored to two paved travel lanes and shoulders, the Department of Public Works said.

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim expressed gratitude for the work by state and federal agencies to reopen the highway.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Kim said.

The project to repair the roadway in the Puna area began June 10. The work included the excavation of 109,000 cubic yards (83,336 cubic meters) of lava rock, grading on the roadway and shoulders, paving, and installing striping, markers and signage, officials said.

The Federal Highway Administration granted a three-month extension in October to complete the work, which originally had a deadline of Oct. 5 to qualify for 100% reimbursement from the agency.

“On behalf of my community, I’m over the moon we were able to make this happen,” Puna Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz said.

Lisa Roach, who lost her home in a fire started by the lava, is happy to be able to drive home on the highway again but said she has concerns about the possibility of increased traffic caused by drivers coming to view the area.

“We do hope people who come to drive the new highway will honor our privacy,” Roach said.