Puna committee examines emergency routes


The Puna Community Development Plan Action Committee will weigh a report recommending several dozen new emergency routes for the district’s large subdivisions at its Tuesday meeting.

The document, produced by its Connectivity and Emergency Response Subcommittee, proposes 48 “connectivity locations” for Puna roads that could help residents in times of disaster, whether from flood, fire, tsunami, earthquake or lava, said subcommittee Chair Marlene Hapai.

The report includes the top three suggestions for four major Puna areas: Volcano, Puna Uka (upper), Puna Waena (middle), and Puna Kai (lower).

“Most of them are small connections,” Hapai said.

For instance, roads in the Fern Forest and Eden Roc subdivisions are only a few lots apart in some areas. The report recommends changing that by connecting Kaleponi Drive and Punahele Avenue.

Another route between the subdivisions could be created by connecting Leila Road and Ahi Avenue, the report says.

A few of the suggestions are much longer. The lengthier routes near the top of the list include connecting Wright Road to Stainback Highway, and using Railroad Avenue to connect Hawaiian Paradise Park to Hawaiian Beaches and HPP to Hilo.

Hapai said the action committee will consider adopting the report at the meeting. It begins at 3 p.m. at the Keaau Community Center.

If adopted, the recommendations will be submitted to Hawaii County.

The subcommittee began its work in January 2013, Hapai said, and included recommendations attained from residents at an emergency response fair, surveys and other outreach meetings.

With Puna considered one of the fastest growing areas in the state, it’s important for action to be taken on the issue, she said.

“The whole thing is long overdue,” Hapai said.

To view the report, visit http://tinyurl.com/Punaroutes. wThe document is titled 2014-26: CERS Report 4-23-14 w-maps.