Despite Slowed Activity, Pahoa Village Road to Remain Closed
Despite the lack of activity occurring in the down slope areas of the June 27 lava flow, Hawai’i County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira reiterated in a Tuesday morning briefing that safety is a priority in maintaining road closures.
Pahoa Village Road is the main roadway going through Pahoa, and is the home address to a majority of the businesses that provide for the area community.
With the partial closure of Pahoa Village Road between Apa’a Street and Post Office Road that has been in effect since Oct. 27, a physical divide has been made in the small town.
Although access is possible, both through the Post Office Road and through the intersection of Pahoa Village Road, Highway 130, and Highway 132, it is much less convenient than it once was.
“We are definitely, sincerely appreciative and sensitive to the problems the road closure is causing. Right now between Civil Defense and the various stakeholders that have some responsibility on the road such as HELCO, Public Works, HVO etc., we are in very close contact, and maintaining active dialog in observations of what is happening with the flow,” Oliveira address during the briefing.
When it comes to the opening of the road, Oliveira doesn’t think now is the right time and worries that a premature opening could end up causing more community frustration than the preventative measures currently are.
“When it is safe and we feel comfortable that it wouldn’t result in a premature opening that would result in having to reclose the road, the road will be reopened,” Oliveira added. “Everything we have done up until this point has prevented anyone from getting hurt, and that’s the biggest thing. We don’t want to see people get hurt or to have any unnecessary loss of property.”
The lava flows downslope of the crack system have remained relatively quiet since Saturday. No burning activity is occurring in the area and no flow advancement has been observed.
Further upslope above the crack system and up to the vent, activity has been noted, but is limited to surface breakouts on the flow pad. Advancement rates upslope are slow and currently pose no threat to residents.
The closure of Pahoa Village Road will continue as a preventative measure as the unpredictable lave continues to make its course.
“We will yield the questions from the public and address the concerns but at this point, it’s premature to open the road but we will definitely do so when it is safe,” Oliveira ensured.