Hawaii Department of Transportation — Lava Panels on Highway 130

When the Lower East Rift Zone of the Kilauea Volcano erupted on May 2, 2018, it threatened Highway 130 – the main route into the Puna district of Hawaii. Cracks began forming in the ground, directly impacting a subdivision called Leilani Estates. Cracks also began forming on Highway 130, prompting the Hawaii DOT to take immediate action: installing thermal and sulfur dioxide monitors and covering the cracks with steel plates. As volcanic activity began to slow, the agency got to work putting a more permanent solution in place: heat-resistant Calcium Aluminate Cement roadway panels, costing $1 million. Those panels helped keep temperature levels consistent during thermal readings. Prior to their installation, temperatures would spike from 175 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit, but after the panels were fitted along Highway 130, temperatures stayed at or near 135 degrees. This project re-opened Highway 130, restoring vital access to the Lower East Rift Zone, all while keeping their safety at the forefront.