By Maui Now Staff
Crater Road 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.
The convoy is the third scheduled since June. On June 25th, a convoy did not depart as planned  due to an overnight vigil, and 20 individuals were arrested after trying to block a convoy  on July 31st.
Opponents to the project said they are still awaiting judgement on a lawsuit currently in the Hawaiʻi State Supreme Court.
Park representatives advise that the summit will not be accessible for sunrise viewing on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015. Although the park road to the summit will re-open at 2 p.m. on Thursday, the Haleakalā Visitor Center at 9,740-foot elevation will remain closed all day.
In addition, the Headquarters Visitor Center at the 7,000-foot elevation will remain closed all day for bookstore inventory. Back country permits will be available in the foyer of Headquarters Visitor Center from 2 to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. 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 August 18, 19, 20 will have a one-day extension on the usual three-day pass. The extension will apply to both the Kīpahulu and Summit Districts.
The Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope, formerly known as the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope Project or ATST, is located outside of park boundaries.
The convoy’s travel through the park is being allowed via Special Use Permit. The convoy will travel at 2 to 5 mph and transport equipment that is over twenty-three feet wide. 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.