What happens if Saddle Road is closed because of the Mauna Loa eruption? : Big Island Now
, 2022-12-09 02:00:00,
While there was encouraging news Thursday morning that the supply of lava flowing toward Daniel K. Inouye Highway (also known as Saddle Road) was cut off, the Mauna Loa eruption is not over.
County officials and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists are still closely monitoring the volcano’s unpredictable activity.
Observatory geologist Frank Trusdell, who has spent most of his career studying and monitoring the world’s largest active volcano, advised caution Thursday: “We just have to be vigilant.”
The immediate threat is over, but there still is a possibility that molten rock could flow elsewhere down the mountain’s northeast flank and reach the Big Island’s primary east-west highway. If that happened, and Saddle Road had to be closed, it would cause serious disruption — to government, business, industry, shipping, commuting, visiting family, you name it.
“As a business organization representing nearly 300 member businesses and nonprofit organizations mostly from East Hawai‘i, we are concerned about the varying degrees of impact to our members and their employees,” said Miles Yoshioka, executive officer of the Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce. “Saddle Road is important to anyone who uses it because it offers safe, quicker travel between West and East Hawai‘i, whether it be for work, shopping or visiting family.”
The Daniel K. Inouye…
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