Convoy to Close Summit Road During Wide Load TransportJuly 26, 2017, 8:45 AM HST · Updated July 26, 8:59 AM Wendy Osher · 0 Comments
Crater Road (Rt. 378) and Haleakalā National Park’s summit road will close to visitor traffic for 16 hours while a slow moving convoy transports extremely wide loads to the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope near the volcano’s summit.
The roads will be closed to visitors from 10 p.m. on Tuesday, August 1, through 2 p.m. on Wednesday, August 2, 2017.
The summit will not be accessible for Wednesday sunrise viewing on Aug. 2. Although the park road to the summit will re-open at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, the Haleakalā Visitor Center (at 9740 feet of elevation), will remain closed all day.
The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope or DKIST Project is located outside of park boundaries.
The convoy’s travel through the park is being allowed via Special Use Permit. The convoy will transport an extremely wide load and travel at 2 to 5 mph. The road precautions are in place due to the size of the convoy and narrowness of the roads. The convoy will include semi-truck trailers and various support vehicles.
Back country permits will be given out at Headquarters Visitor Center (at 7000 feet of elevation), from 2 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday; however, backpackers planning to hike into the crater on Wednesday are strongly urged to obtain their permits a day in advance. Visitors who paid an entrance fee on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday (July 31, August 1, August 2) will have a one-day extension on the usual three-day pass. The extension will apply to both the Kīpahulu and Summit Districts.
Similar convoys were met with protests in 2015 due to issues surrounding development atop the summit areas of some of Hawaiʻi’s highest mountains. Demonstrators who attempted to block a convoy transporting material and equipment to the summit for the project in July of 2015 were carried away, and additional arrests were made a month later when demonstrators took another stand against the project.
In October of 2016, the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court issued an opinion that supported continued construction, and agreed that the management plan for the Haleakalā summit provided a sufficient assessment of potential environmental impacts from the Telescope.