By Maui Now Staff
Crater Road (Route 378) and Haleakalā National Park’s summit road will close to visitor traffic while a slow moving convoy transports extremely wide loads to the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope near the volcano’s summit over a 16-hour period beginning tonight (Wednesday, June 24, 2015).
The roads will be closed to visitors from 10 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24, through 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 25, 2015.
The summit will not be accessible for sunrise viewing on Thursday, June 25, 2015.
Back country permits will be given out at Headquarters Visitor Center (at the 7,000-foot elevation), from 2 to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday; however, backpackers planning to hike into the crater on Thursday are strongly urged to obtain their permits a day in advance.
Visitors who paid an entrance fee on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday (June 23, 24, 25) will have a one-day extension on the usual three-day pass. The extension will apply to both the Kīpahulu and Summit Districts.
Although the park road to the summit will re-open at 2 p.m. on Thursday, the Haleakalā Visitor Center (at the 9,740-foot elevation), will remain closed all day.
The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (also known as the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope or ATST Project) is located outside of park boundaries.
The telescope, which is now in its third year of construction, will be the largest solar telescope in the world when complete, providing the sharpest views ever taken of the sun and allowing scientists to learn more about the solar surface and solar-terrestrial interactions.
The convoy’s travel through the park is being allowed via Special Use Permit. The convoy will transport an 18-foot wide load and travel at 2 to 5 mph.
Park officials say the road precautions are in place due to the size of the convoy and narrowness of the roads. The convoy will include three semi-truck trailers and various support vehicles.