Officials work on contingency plan should current eruption cut off highway

News

With 12 fissures and 35 structures destroyed the threat of more homes being consumed by lava continues. What will this mean for residents? What’s the county’s plan for evacuation?

While listening to the local radio here, the Hawaii County Civil Defense would do periodic cut-ins from regular programming to keep residents updated on the lava.

One of the things that stuck out was the message: “Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.”

The situation out is constantly changing, and there’s a level of panic and fear, like whether the lava will leave certain communities stranded.

Multiple homes and cars have been consumed by lava since Kilauea erupted last Thursday.

It continues to be a dynamic dangerous situation, especially with lava oozing out of two new fissures.

There’s a fear lava will cut off access to residents in Kalapana.

“We would be cut off from a lot of things. Pahoa town, the nearest town to us with all the amenities and necessities that we do need. It would really suck actually. We would need helicopters coming in,” said Kalapana resident Tiana Dunn.

Some have already evacuated.

“I know a lot of my family members that live down there they actually have relocated. so some of them are nervous, especially after that big earthquake,” said Dunn. 

A portion of Highway 130 is closed because the road is cracking, something officials believe could turn into more fissures.

“Cracks continue to form,” said Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator Talmadge Magno. “Highway 130 has got some extensive cracks. Though it’s only like four inches thick, four inches wide, there are several in one area, so something is going on under that road from magma being under it.”

Officials are monitoring the situation and preparing for the worst.

“If a flow would be created, we would look at more roads being cut off, more isolation,” Magno added. “So we have to start expanding our planning and incorporate the other communities.”

To keep residents in the Kalapana and Kaimu areas from being trapped, the state’s Department of Transportation is working with the county to create an extension of Highway 130, which will extend north of Highway 132 to Makuu Drive in Hawaiian Paradise Park.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.