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Hawaii County to begin work to clear Pahoa lava flow from Cemetery Road

PAHOA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) -

It was just about a year ago that lava from the Pu'u O'o vent of Kilauea Volcano threatened Pahoa town. On October 24, the lava flow crossed Cemetery Road. On Monday, Hawaii County crews will begin work to remove the flow.

Geologists at the time expected the flow to continue through the town and down to the ocean. However, "This was the first road -- and the only road taken," said Pahoa resident John Hutchison.

Hutchison lives on Pahoa Village Road, which was closed for weeks in anticipation of the flow. Meanwhile, some of the lava that covered Cemetery Road also flowed into the parking lot of the Pahoa Transfer Station. 

But Madam Pele didn't get much farther.

"In reality, she was so tired by the time she reached Pahoa, it was just not gonna happen," joked Hutchison.

For a while, the solidified lava become a visitor attraction at the transfer station, which was reopened in March.

Now, the county will work to reopen Cemetery Road. The work will include removing the new lava, and then repaving the 500 foot-long stretch of roadway.

Residents say it's not just for convenience.

"It does make sense because that section needs to be cleared, but for the transfer station, but for the alternate route to Kaohe Homesteads," said Hutchison.

The county expected the project to take about 40 working days to complete, at a cost of $150,000, most of it covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

Hutchison is looking forward to the restored roadway.

"It's a very nice drive," he said. "It goes through a really very beautiful green and verdant area."

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