HONOLULU (KHON2) — As of late this afternoon scientists reported that lava is still more than three and a quarter miles away from Saddle Road, and moving at a crawl.

Deputy scientist in charge of USGS, David Phillips said, “Similar to previous eruptions on Mauna Loa lava that comes down the northeast rift zone the lava flows at a moderately rapid rate and once it gets down to the saddle, it spreads out and thickens and that’s exactly what we’re seeing now.”

Check out more news from around Hawaii

Mayor Mitch Roth said, “They’re saying if it keeps on going at the same rate it’ll be about a week but right now it’s spreading out and we feel pretty good about the path it’s taking right now.”

With Pele giving officials a bit of a breather today the next task at hand was developing a plan to safely allow greater access to the thousands of spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of the eruption.

Something that took the cooperation of the county as well the state and federal governments.

“The military has agreed to work with us to open up and open up this portion from the recreation area all the way, adjacent to Puʻu Huluhulu. It’s one-way traffic starting up Gilbert Kahele. Utilizing two lanes. The right lane to park, the left lane to travel on,” said Talmadge Magno, Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator.

County officials estimate the additional four and a half miles of Saddle Road will not only accommodate as many as 800 additional vehicles, but the bypass road will get spectators even closer to the flow while at the same time alleviating pressure from the overcrowded Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

But there will be rules.

Magno explained, “People have to understand that they cannot leave the roadway because it’s part of the military installation. We’re gonna have people on site to make sure people stay safe and enjoy the view but stay safe.”

No getting out of the car and hiking?

“No hiking,” said Magno.

And back to the volcano, scientists said while everything is going according to the script for now, there’s obviously no saying what the future might bring.

“And that’s the reason we’re out there continuously monitoring to better understand what the similarities are to previous eruptions and to see what is unique. Because every eruption is unique,” said Phillips.

So again, Mauna Loa still clearly has the attention of all the scientists and everybody in civil defense but there is definitely a relaxed state among everybody.

And maybe they won’t be working 24-hour shifts for the next couple of days.

We’re Hawaii’s weather station, get the latest forecast and radar information here

One more note, don’t expect a lot of creature comforts on that new stretch of Old Saddle Road. A handful of porta potties and that’s pretty much it.