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Old Saddle Road repurposed for eruption viewing

Hawaii Volcano Photo Gallery
Gregory Bull/AP
Janice Hazen of Ocean View, Hawaii, uses a binocular to view the Mauna Loa volcano as it erupts Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, near Hilo, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Hawaiʻi County has opened a detour to relieve congestion on Daniel K. Inouye Highway — and so drivers can view the eruption.

The one-way traffic hazard mitigation route uses the old Saddle Road. The entrance is located directly across from the Gilbert Kahele Recreation Area — formerly called Maunakea State Recreation Area.

The route spans 4.5 miles from the entryway to a junction point located just before Puʻuhuluhulu.

Maunaloa viewing.PNG
County of Hawaiʻi

There will be signage, barricades and safety officers on site to direct the flow of traffic.

This is for passenger vehicles only. Commercial vehicles may not enter.

Parking will only be allowed on the right side of the traffic route and no vehicle can remain in the area for more than one hour and 30 minutes.

"Our teams have worked tirelessly to keep the community safe through this eruption, and through the creation of the traffic hazard mitigation route, we believe that there will be significantly less risk to our community," said Mayor Mitch Roth.

The Gilbert Kahele Recreational Area, including both the lower and upper bathrooms, will remain open 24-hrs a day until further notice. Security guards will be on-site nightly from 6:15 p.m. – 6:15 a.m. 

The creation of the traffic hazard mitigation route was made in collaboration with the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, Department of Hawaiian Homelands, Gov. David Ige, Lt. Gov. Josh Green, and Lt. Col. Kevin Cronin at the Pōhakuloa Training Area. 

Updated: December 2, 2022 at 1:11 PM HST
Credits to route opening added.
Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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