Highway 132 to Reopen Wednesday

November 26, 2019, 2:39 PM HST (Updated November 26, 2019, 2:39 PM)
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Highway 132 will reopen Nov. 27, 2019. PC: Hawai‘i County

Highway 132 in Pāhoa, cut off to travel for more than a year by lava from the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea volcano, will reopen Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, at noon.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works (DPW) announced the reopening in a Tuesday press release.

A 1.6-mile stretch of the upper portion of the highway and a 1.5-mile section of the lower portion of the road were covered in lava, leaving a kipuka, an isolated area surrounded by lava, in the mid-section of the highway.

An 1,100-foot section of Government Beach Road from Four Corners to the lava inundation was also restored.

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Highway 132 has been restored to its pre-inundation function with two paved travel lanes and shoulders. Rough grading included the excavation of 109,000 cubic yards of lava rock. Additional work included fine grading the roadway and shoulders, paving with asphalt concrete base, as well as installing striping, markers and signage, according to a Hawai‘i County press release.

Initial construction costs were estimated at $12 million. However, design was done in-house and construction managed and inspected by the DPW Engineering Division, reducing costs to approximately $6.5 million, which is the amount the Federal Highway Administration obligated for reimbursement, the release continued.

Construction was done mostly via equipment rental contracts and regular contracts for paving, signing and striping.

Highway restoration started June 10, 2019, with an initial completion deadline of Oct. 5, 2019, in order to receive 100% federal reimbursement.

However, after construction personnel encountered hot surface temperatures of more than 700°F in the lower portion of the road, DPW requested and received a three-month extension from FHWA. The County completed work before the revised deadline of Jan. 5, 2020.

Restoring the road will provide access for residents with properties in the kipuka to return to their homes and businesses, provide shorter commute to residents and businesses beyond the lava inundation on Old Government Beach Road and facilitate emergency response in the area, the release continued.

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