Maunakea road remains closed near the summit; crews work to clear snow, ice

UH-Hilo photo Crews work to clear snow off the Maunakea Access Road.

The Maunakea Access Road above the Visitor Information Station likely will remain closed for at least the next couple of days, according to the University of Hawaii at Hilo Center for Maunakea Stewardship.

The recent “Kona low” storm — which generated winds of more than 100 mph, sleet, freezing rain and heavy snow — created a very hard covering of ice and icy snow on the road.


CMS crews are working as quickly as possible to reopen the road above the VIS. Once the CMS crews are able to clear one lane, they will limit access to essential personnel until the road can fully be reopened.

“Our top priority is keeping the public and our employees safe while on Maunakea,” Greg Chun, executive director of CMS, said in a statement. “We understand many are eager to head up to enjoy the wintry weather. However, until conditions are safe and full access of the road is restored, we humbly ask for everyone’s kokua and patience.”

The public is asked to remember that the summit of Maunakea can be extremely dangerous. The weather can change rapidly, resulting in severe conditions including freezing temperatures, blizzards and high winds.

Emergency services may be two hours away because of its remote location. Cellphone coverage is unreliable, and there is one public emergency phone on the summit.

For everyone’s safety, please heed all directions and precautions from Maunakea Rangers.

In 2021, at least two car crashes were reported after heavy snowfall on the mauna, including an overturned vehicle.

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