Pahoa Village Road Reopening in the Works
Pahoa Village Road is in the process of reopening, according to Hawai’i County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira.
During a media briefing Monday morning, Oliveira noted that progress on the reopening of the road is being made. Hawai’i Electric Light worked during the morning hours to remove some of their protective measures put in place in anticipation of the June 27 lava flow that was creeping close to the main road just weeks ago.
“Hawai’i Electric Light is removing the cinder from around the protective barriers around the poles this morning, when I spoke to their supervisor he indicated that they would be having a street sweeper out there today,” said Oliveira, “which to me indicates that they have removed most of the material that was around the poles.”
In addition to the removal of cinder, Oliveira said that Civil Defense is coordinating with the Department of Public Works Traffic Division to conduct a walk-through of the road. A walk through would give the opportunity for Public Works officials to determine if the road is safe for vehicles or if additional preparation for the reopening is necessary.
“Hawai’i Electric Light at this point isn’t removing the concrete rings or mesh from the poles, so they do stick out maybe two feet or so in radius, creating a wider base. A walk-through will determine if anything else needs to be done, or any hazard signs need to be posted,” stated Oliveira.
An additional issue that officials are remaining sensitive to is the potential for trespassing and invasion of private property by onlookers. The road reopening’s overall purpose is to alleviate traffic concerns and to broaden the ease of accessibility to the town of Pahoa.
“We need to encourage onlookers, people driving through, that it’s [the flow] on private property, no one should be trying to get out there, or trespass,” Oliveira said. “We need to respect the private landowners and keep the traffic flowing smoothly because if we’re opening up the road, it’s to alleviate traffic concerns and to allow for access. We don’t want to have that in any way impacted by people stopping to take pictures, because that would defeat the purpose of why we’re reopening the road.”
Part of the plan includes the Hawai’i County Police Department, who is creating a traffic plan to aide in the smooth reopening of the road.
Oliveira said that as of Monday, pending the Public Works walk-through, officials are aiming to have the road open on Thanksgiving.
With access through Pahoa Village Road reestablished, the Pahoa Christmas Parade, scheduled for Dec. 6, will be able to run with no interruption.
Apa’a Street will remained closed as Civil Defense and public safety personnel are not allowing access to the areas where the flow crossed Apa’a Street or near the Pahoa Transfer Station.
Efforts to create a public viewing area that could double as an educational experience are also in the works, with the potential to use the transfer station as a location.