Traffic safety, infrastructure upgrades near Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park entrance begin soon

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Driving into Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island will soon be more safe and look different. Work began Monday in preparation for the installation of a roundabout near the park’s entrance.

The upgrades also include plans to realign Crater Rim Drive and add an administrative lane at the entrance station. Part of a parking lot east of Kīlauea Visitor Center will be the staging area for the project. Thirty-three parking stalls were fenced off, meaning less parking available in that lot.

Some sections of forest near the entrance also will be removed in the weeks ahead but will be restored as much as possible. The park’s natural resources team propagated ʻōhiʻa and other endemic plants from the area and will replant once the work is complete.

The park consulted with kūpuna about this process and is committed to minimizing the loss of forest. To prevent the spread of rapid ʻōhiʻa death and non-native species, all workers are required to follow the park’s stringent invasive pest and green waste protocols.


“We want the community and visitors to be prepared for the changes, which will eventually make it safer to enter and explore the park,” said Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Rhonda Loh. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding.”

The addition of an administrative lane and the realignment of the Crater Rim Drive intersection into a roundabout will improve traffic flow and address visitor experience issues. The upgrades will result in less frequent backups onto Highway 11, a major safety concern especially during eruptions when park visitation soars.

Crews will also conduct important infrastructure upgrades to water, fiber optic and electrical lines underground, between the park entrance and visitor center.


The traffic safety upgrades are included with the National Park Service’s nearly 2-year Disaster Recovery Project following the eruption and collapse of Kīlauea volcano’s summit in 2018.

People coming to the park should expect limited parking, delays at the entrance station and the potential for temporary area closures, especially if an eruption occurs. In addition to reduced parking near Kīlauea Visitor Center, half the parking lot at Uēkahuna is reserved for the construction project.

Construction closures and delays are updated on the park’s new construction page online.


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