Mayor Harry Kim announced on Thursday that the Maunakea Access Road is temporarily closed to the public as the road is being cleared to make it completely accessible to the public.

Under an agreement with the protectors, the clearing operation will involve the collaborative efforts of State and County agencies working together with the protectors.

Mayor Kim tells us last week, the Governor gave him the responsibility to reopen the road. He was able to do that but he had to assure the opponents of TMT that construction equipment will not be moved.

Under the agreement, the Mayor says there will be no attempt to move TMT construction equipment up the mountain for a minimum of two months. Mayor Kim requested that the kupuna tent, which has been set up as a blockade, be moved to the side.

The kupuna have agreed. But the opponents of TMT say they are not leaving the Mauna.

“They will move their camp off to the side mainly their motivation is for safety because now that the road is open there is a lot of traffic driving around the kupuna tent and it’s just a constant safety hazard,” said Andre Perez, Mauna Kea Kia’i.

The Mayor says he hopes during this time, when state and county agencies and law enforcement agree to stand down, communication among the different groups will continue. Mayor Kim says he plans to bring in professionals to guide them through the process.

During the road closure, access will be limited to telescope personnel, ranchers, conservation workers, hunters and cultural practitioners, as previously arranged, the Mayor said. The County of Hawai‘i appreciates everyone’s cooperation and understanding of the temporary closure.

The road will reopen to the general public on Saturday, December 28.  This date coincides with the reopening of the Hale Pohaku Visitor Center.