End of the ‘Red Road’


HILO — Hawaii County saw a red road and wanted it paved black.

Puna’s iconic “Red Road” — officially Highway 137 — has lost its rusty hue.

Last week, the final remaining stretch of rusty red roadway was smoothed over with a fresh coat of black pavement.

“It’s the end of the red,” said Noelani Whittington, a spokeswoman with Hawaii County Public Works.

The worn stretch of cinder making its last stand was between the intersection of Highway 132 and Ahalanui Park, also known as the “hot pond.”

Whittington said county crews started repaving the 3.3-mile section in late March as part of general maintenance.

Despite it involving the last remaining stretch of red left, the $400,000 project occurred without the controversy changes to the road once stirred in the local community.

More than a dozen years ago, Puna residents had sought to save its color, even seeking to paint newly paved portions.

Harry Kim, who was mayor at the time, said the county had dismissed using cinder for repaving due to its inflated cost.

“The Red Road community was really getting concerned about how bad it was getting,” he said.