Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is gearing up for a significant construction effort, which is poised to bring temporary disruptions and adjustments for visitors to the renowned site. Anticipate temporary closures, parking constraints, and potential entrance delays as the park embarks on what the National Park Service describes as a “major” construction initiative.
This extensive construction endeavor is necessitated by the need to repair and remove damaged buildings and infrastructure, particularly at the summit of Kīlauea volcano. Stemming from seismic activity beneath Halema‘uma‘u crater in 2018, which resulted in the closure of much of the park for over 100 days, the project also encompasses the realignment of Crater Rim Drive and the restoration of Uēkahuna to a more natural landscape.
The contract for the initial phase of construction spans 600 days, during which park visitors, tour operators, and the local community should brace for reduced parking availability, potential delays at entrance stations, and the possibility of temporary area closures, especially in the event of a summit eruption during construction, as noted by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Rhonda Loh.
As part of the construction effort, half of the parking lot at Uēkahuna will be allocated as a staging area for the project, with restrictions on vehicles longer than 25 feet and wider than eight feet beyond the Kilauea Military Camp. Additionally, the gravel overflow parking lot at the Kīlauea Visitor Center will serve as another staging area.
Following the commencement of phase one, the national park intends to proceed with the rehabilitation of the Kīlauea Visitor Center as part of phase two, slated to commence as early as this fall.
Situated on the Big Island, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park boasts several active volcanoes, including Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, the latter being designated a National Natural Landmark and towering taller than Mount Everest from its base beneath the Pacific Ocean. Kīlauea volcano, the youngest and most active on the island, remains a focal point within the park’s diverse volcanic landscape, according to the NPS.