State eyes 'lava bridge,' other fixes to keep key roadways open

Updated: May. 14, 2018 at 10:06 PM HST
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PAHOA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Authorities are thinking outside the box to ensure key thoroughfares in areas affected by lava flows are kept open for as long as possible.

One idea: Installing a lava bridge on key parts of Highway 132.

The "bridge" would actually be insulated mats — heat resistant to 2,000 degrees — to allow access for as long as possible.

Meanwhile, authorities say they've reopened Highway 130 from Malama Street to Kamaili Road to local traffic only on Tuesday.

The reopening was deemed crucial, officials said, as Highway 132 was closed at Pohoiki Road on Monday.

At the reopened Highway 130, near lava-ravaged Leilani Estates, crews will put metal plates over large cracks in the road.

The road will only be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will be monitored continuously.

Officials said sulfur dioxide is being emitted from cracks in the road, and the state is looking into whether it can install devices to monitor heat and gas levels.

"The safety of those living in lower Puna is our no. 1 priority," said Gov. David Ige, in a news release. "We will continue to support the County of Hawaii without reservation in their efforts to maintain transportation access for affected residents."

This story will be updated. 

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