Something good may have come out of the long lava crisis in Lower Puna. On March 25, the same day that Hawaiian Volcano Observatory lowered the volcano threat level from “Warning” to “Watch,” the County of Hawaii opened a new Web site: punatraffic.com, a free Web based traffic monitoring service for Lower Puna’s Pahoa to Kea`au traffic corridor. The site is designed to provide commuters with up-to-date information on “Traffic conditions along several transportation corridors that may be affected by the June 27th Lava Flow, including HWY 130.” The site accesses 30 traffic cameras that refresh their images every three to five minutes. Color codes on a map tell commuters which sections of the corridor between Kea’au and Pahoa have “Free Flow,” “Moderate Traffic,” “Heavy Traffic,” or “Stop and Go” conditions. The “dashboard” page of the site gives estimated travel times for each of eight sections of highway 130 between its junction on Kahakai Blvd. in Pahoa to its junction with Milo Street, about midway along and Kea`aua-Pahoa Bypass. The site also includes live feeds to several cameras monitoring conditions on the lava flows themselves. Icons on the site’s traffic map inform viewers about the locations of traffic incidents, traffic congestion, road construction, adverse weather conditions and “special events.”
“The traffic monitoring system is a part of the County’s overall plan to monitor
traffic flow that may have to be re-routed as a result of the June 27 Lava Flow” said a press release from the county about the new Web site. It noted that “The cameras are government property and specifically programmed to only work
with government equipment. Please kokua and respect this public benefit and
The site also has a page containing links to the Web pages and social media connnections for various state and county agencies, from Hawaii State and County Civil Defense agencies and the Department of Education official sites to Mayor Billy Kenoi’s Twitter feed.