Hot lava rock slows progress of Big Island highway construction

Hot lava rock slows progress of Big Island highway construction
County crews drove heavy machinery onto the massive wall of lava rock covering Highway 132 -- some areas as high as 40 feet. (Source: Big Island Video News)

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Hawaii construction workers have been slowed down by dense high-temperature rock while reconstructing a Big Island highway inundated by lava.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Wednesday that public works officials are seeking more time from the Federal Highway Administration to facilitate proper construction.

Construction crews say they are working with lava rock on Highway 132 above 700 degrees Fahrenheit (371 degrees Celsius) in some areas from the 2018 Kilauea volcanic eruption.

Officials say the construction will grant access to some residents’ land-locked homes and farms about 24 miles (39 kilometers) southeast of Hilo.

Workers say they need more time for the rock to cool to levels they can operate at.

Officials say roadwork is expected to be completed by October 5 to qualify for 100% federal reimbursement.

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