Changes Coming To Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Entrance

This graphic shows an aerial view of Kīlauea Visitor Center parking lot that is fenced off for use as a construction staging area/NPS

A roundabout being installed at the entrance to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is intended to improve safety for motorists at the park.

Work to prepare for the roundabout just beyond the park entrance began Monday. The upgrades also include plans to realign Crater Rim Drive and add an administrative lane at the entrance station. Workers have fenced off 33 parking stalls east of Kīlauea Visitor Center as a staging area for the traffic safety project, creating less parking.

Some sections of forest near the entrance will be removed in the weeks ahead but will be restored as much as possible. The park’s natural resources team has propagated ʻōhiʻa and other endemic plants from the area and will replant once the road work is complete. The park consulted with kūpuna about this process and is committed to minimizing the loss of forest. To prevent the spread of Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death and non-native species, all workers are required to follow the park’s stringent invasive pest and green waste protocols.  

“We want the community and visitors to be prepared for the changes, which will eventually make it safer to enter and explore the park,” said Hawaiʻi Volcanoes Superintendent Rhonda Loh. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding.”  

The addition of an administrative lane and the realignment of the Crater Rim Drive intersection into a roundabout is expected to improve traffic flow and address visitor experience issues. The upgrades will result in less frequent backups onto Highway 11, a major safety concern, especially during eruptions when park visitation soars. 

Crews will also conduct important infrastructure upgrades to water, fiber optic, and electrical lines underground between the park entrance and visitor center. 

Everyone coming to the park should expect limited parking, delays at the entrance station, and the potential for temporary area closures during construction, especially if an eruption occurs. In addition to reduced parking near Kilauea Visitor Center, half the parking lot at Uēkahuna is reserved for the construction project.

Construction closures and delays are updated on the park’s new construction page.
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