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Hawaii Evacuation Routes are Being Built

You are currently viewing Hawaii Evacuation Routes are Being Built
The wildfires blocked roads and left people trapped.
  • Post category:Blogs

After the devasting fires that swept through Maui and the Hawaiian islands last year, the state has announced that they will design and build new evacuation routes in order to prevent further, more avoidable, devastation. The routes will encourage less roadblocks which occurred heavily with the fires and caused people to be trapped in their burning neighborhoods.

The routes will include an opening in a sound wall in Kelawea Mauka neighborhood. This will allow cars to go through and have more direct access to the Lahaina Bypass. This news came directly from the Hawaii Department of Transportation. The sound wall is currently up in order to reduce the noise levels coming from the bypass, since it is one of the main highways on the island. However, for emergency purposes, such as wildfires, an opening had to be constructed.

Lahainaluna Road will also have a cleared route.

This road is a common one for residents to take, but during the wildfires it was blocked heavily by debris. This prevented residents from being able to flee safely, forcing people to flee on foot while the fires gained the upper hand in the area.

Additionally, the state opened a specific emergency access route. This access route opened in October, while the island was in recovery from the fires. The emergency access route runs approximately 2.5 miles, from the Lahainaluna fire lane to the Lahaina Bypass. This was the first phase; a second phase is coming to the state with more access points around the bypass.

There are only two roads that take residents out of Lahaina, one being the bypass. With this one clogged and unusable, many were stuck to turn to the other road, leading to an impossible challenge for people to get out. It got so bad that some people simply jumped into the ocean as a way to get away from the fires.

The evacuation routes will eventually spread through to other areas of Hawaii.

One resident spoke about her experience with the evacuation orders when they were set during the fires. She spoke about how chaotic the entire process was, with everyone running around in a panic, unsure of where to go due to a lack of infrastructure to support their evacuation needs. We are hopeful that these new evacuation plans will allow people to flee quickly and easily.

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