The Federal Highway Administration, Central Federal Lands Highway Division (FHWA-CFLHD), in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS), evaluated seismic spot repair damage within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (HAVO). The historic Chain of Craters Road is one of the primary roads within the Park. The Chain of Craters road is the only access route to the coastal areas and many volcanic pit craters and other points of interest. Therefore, a substantial number of all park visitors and staff use this road daily, year-round. It also provides access to the Emergency Access Route located on the Southern Edge of the Island for Residents located in the Puna District of Hawai‘i where recent Volcanic activity has affected several communities.
Following a 5.5 magnitude earthquake that occurred on June 8th, 2017, several cracks and depressions developed along the roadway and a deep hole in the roadway shoulder was created. HAVO representatives contacted Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Central Federal Lands Highway Division (CFL) on July 19th, 2017 to conduct an assessment of the roadway stability conditions. On July 27th, 2017, CFL geotechnical engineer visited the site, performed an initial assessment based on field observations and surface measurements, and identified five distressed sites, located between mile markers 2.0 and 4.0, along the Chains of Crater Road to perform subsurface imaging and to provide recommendations for remediation.
Starting on April 30th, 2018 a significant eruptive event on Kilauea occurred. It resulted in a large lava flow in the lower East Rift Zone of Kilauea as well as collapse of the Halema'uma'u crater floor. During this event the following resulted:
- Approximately 60,000 earthquakes between April 30, 2018 and August 4, 2018 (4,400 were magnitude 3 or higher with the largest M6.9 occurring on May 4, 2018)
- Approximately 1 billion cubic yards of lava erupted.
- The Kilauea summit topography subsided more than 500 meters (1,600 ft).
Events at the summit of Kīlauea in 2018 have dramatically reshaped Halema'uma'u and the National Park. Seismic damage to infrastructure within the park is widespread. The FHWA-CFLHD and NPS are designing and evaluating repairs to infrastructure throughout the National Park. Repairs included restoring access over damaged roadways, installing roadway safety devices and restoring parking and trail segments throughout the National Park.
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