HILO – The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) affirms that it will continue to support the joint operations on Maunakea. HDOT’s primary mission in the joint operation is to ensure the safety of everyone on the roads leading up the mountain—drivers, protestors, astronomers, and contractors alike.
As such, HDOT has placed signage, cones, and barriers to make motorists on the high-speed facility aware of pedestrians and law enforcement at the base of Mauna Kea Access Road. We have also suspended all lane closures on the alternate route through Hamakua (Hawaii Belt Road) to facilitate travel for those needing to go between east and west Hawaii.
HDOT supports the legal right of TMT to construct as the project has been approved through the state’s procedures and rules, including the Final Environmental Impact Statement published in May 2010 (https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/occl/files/2013/08/2010-05-08-HA-FEIS-Thirty-Meter-Telescope-Vol1.pdf), the Hawaii Supreme Court decision in December 2015 vacating the Circuit Court’s May 2014 judgment (https://www.courts.state.hi.us/docs/opin_ord/sct/2015/December/SCAP-14-0000873.pdf), and the September 2017 findings of the second contested case hearing (https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/mk/files/2017/09/882-BLNR-FOFCOLDO.pdf).
HDOT will continue to work with law enforcement to address illegal actions by protestors on neighboring islands to impact the daily lives of commuters on other state roads such as the H-1 Freeway. We understand that there are many perspectives on the state’s involvement in the facilitation of the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope and respect the rights of community members to exercise their freedom of speech in a peaceful, legal manner.