The Kilauea volcano eruptions have caused major damage and the evacuation of thousands of residents on Hawaii’s Big Island. The volcano has been active since 1983, but the damage to land and property sustained over the past four weeks has exceeded what the island has experienced in decades. As of early June, the USGS has reported that 7.7 square miles of the island have been covered with lava.
Now enter GBI.
On May 30th, the Big Island Region started work on clearing an emergency evacuation route for residents of lower Puna. GBI mobilized in one day and completed the work in four days, removing a 0.7 mile section of solidified lava to create an alternative route through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This would be utilized by Puna residents in the case their one remaining route (Highway 130) becomes obstructed due to lava flow; the newly created route is for evacuation purposes only, and will not be an alternate route for travel to and from the Kalapana area.
Mobilizing the equipment was a challenging task because the volcanic activity created deep cracks in the road and we also had to ensure the roads could support our equipment’s weight.
Additionally, all equipment being utilized had to be thoroughly cleaned and pass a detailed inspection to ensure the natural resources of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park were protected from the introduction of invasive species.
The scope of work for this project included:
- Rough grading of 0.7 miles of roadway, 24-feet wide
- Excavation of approximately 14,000 CY of solid basalt
- Crushing of approximately 4,000 CY of basalt
GBI is proud to have partnered with the local officials and businesses who made this evacuation route a high priority in the interest of public safety. Our partners included: Hawaii State Department of Transportation, National Park Service, Hawaii County Police Department, and Island Topsoil.