Categorized | Environment, News

Environmental review for emergency access route


Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is seeking public comment on the environmental review and decision regarding the construction and use of an emergency access route along the lava-covered section of Chain of Craters Kalapana Road. The environmental review for the emergency access route (22’ width) was completed in accordance with alternative NEPA arrangements developed by and in consultation with the Department of Interior and the President’s Council on Environmental Quality.

To sustain access in and out of Pahoa, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is working in cooperation with the state of Hawaii, Hawaii County and the Federal Highways Administration to construct an emergency access route between the park and Kalapana along the park’s historic Chain of Craters Kalapana Road.

The environmental review considers alternatives to the emergency access route and potential adverse impacts, and includes public involvement, mitigation and monitoring commitments.

As part of the alternative arrangements, the National Park Service (NPS) will continue to engage the public by soliciting comments on the project, participating in public informational meetings, responding to comments received, and publishing periodic reports on the results of monitoring commitments.

In addition, the NPS will continue to consult with affected agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Hawaii State Historic Preservation Division, as necessary.

The NPS will also prepare a NEPA review to consider the future of the emergency access route after the emergency ends.

The use of the emergency access route will only last as long as there is no viable alternative route for the residents of the affected area to use to gain access to the rest of the Island of Hawaii.

The public is invited to review the environmental review and decision document and to submit comments via the NPS’s Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website online at

Select the Emergency Access Route along the Lava-Covered Section of Chain of Craters Kalapana Road link. The deadline for submitting comments in PEPC is Dec. 5, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

Comments will be accepted while construction of the road is in progress (anticipated to be 30 days), and are intended to affect NPS consideration of adjustments to the proposed action and enhancement of proposed mitigation measures.

The comment period will be extended if necessary. Responses to substantive comments will be subsequently posted on PEPC.

Results of park monitoring of resources and road use will be posted on PEPC and the park’s website, shared at community meetings, or publicized via other means of communication periodically throughout the duration of the emergency.

The public can also submit comments in writing, addressed to Superintendent, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, P.O. Box 52, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718-0052; or via email

The deadline for submitting comments is Dec. 5, 2014.

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information with your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. Although you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

One Response to “Environmental review for emergency access route”

  1. Gary Turner says:

    Paving chain of craters road as the potential only link in and out of Puna should not be question as daily usage will be extensive and quickly destroy the cinder topping. To attempt to pave after in use will be a disaster blocking necessary traffic flow on this narrow roadway. Please complete the process and pave the 7 plus mile route.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.