EISN for Mauna Kea Science Reserve

Donald Stranley, Chancellor
University of Hawai'i at Hilo Mauna Kea Access Road Maintenance

The portion of the Mauna Kea Access Road above Halepōhaku is maintained by Maunakea Observatory Support Services (MKSS), which is made up of representatives of IFA, OMKM and the telescope operators.  Although there is no official road maintenance plan, the unpaved portion of the road is graded approximately two times a week by MKSS to keep it drivable, and when necessary, cinder pieces fallen from the roadside are collected and used to fill in ruts.  In the spring of 2008, MKSS brought in basalt gravel from a quarry at Pōhakuloa to use as a substitute for the cinder on the most severely washboarded areas.43  This was the first time outside gravel has been used to cover the road surface (Koehler 2008) and this practice continues periodically.  Other maintenance of the lower Mauna Kea Access Road that is either in progress or planned includes cleaning rocks and cinder from culverts, repairing retaining walls, and repairing erosion damage.  In addition, soil additives designed to control dust (Durasoil® and EK-35) have been approved by the MKMB Environmental Committee and applied to limited stretches of the unpaved road, all of the well below the summit (Koehler 2008).  While both additives were found to reduce dust, they did not enable MKSS to decrease the frequency of grading, and MKSS does not intend to continue using them once the existing supply has been exhausted.


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