KAILUA-KONA — With so many more people in town for the Ironman World Championship, being prepared by allotting extra time for travel and knowing which routes are open will be key this week.
Road closures for the 41st installment of the triathlon will start going into effect Thursday morning in the Kailua Village area. By Saturday, access to the majority of downtown Kailua-Kona and the Kona and Kohala coasts will be limited as 2,500 athletes take on the 140.6-mile triathlon.
“The main thing that people can do not only in regards to Ironman but daily to ensure safety is to always follow all traffic laws and to always drive with aloha,” Hawaii Police Department Kona Patrol Lt. Paul Bugado said. “The public should be aware that during this time they should be extra cautious and allow extra travel time to ensure a safe and stress free arrival to their destination.”
Here is a breakdown of the closures before, during and after the triathlon:
At the pier:
• Kailua Pier and Kaahumanu Place access is restricted to vehicles bearing an Ironman pier pass from 6 a.m. Thursday until 2 p.m. Sunday.
On Alii Drive:
• The section of road between King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel and Hualalai Road will be closed from 7:30 to 8 a.m. Thursday for the annual Underpants Run.
• The section of road between Likana Lane and Kailua Pier will be closed from 9 a.m. Thursday until 2 p.m. Sunday. The section from Likana Lane to Hualalai Road will be closed from 9 a.m. Saturday until 1 a.m. Sunday. Alii Drive will be closed between Hualalai Road and Laaloa Avenue from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.
On Hualalai Road:
• The section of road between Alii Drive and Kuakini Highway will be closed from 6:30 a.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday. Access to parking areas will be restricted.
On Kuakini Highway:
• On Saturday, the section between Palani Road and Makala Boulevard will be closed from 6:30 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.; northbound traffic won’t be allowed on the stretch between Palani and Hualalai roads from 6:30 a.m. to noon with southbound lanes in the area closing at 10 a.m. and remaining closed until 1 a.m. Sunday. The section of road between Palani Road heading south toward Kahakai Estates will be open to local traffic only from 6:30 to 10:45 a.m. Saturday.
On Palani Road:
• The section of road between Kailua Pier and King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel will be closed from 6 a.m. Thursday to 2 p.m. Sunday. The area between the hotel and Kuakini Highway will be closed from 6 a.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday. The makai-bound lanes of Palani Road between Kuakini and Queen Kaahumanu highways will be closed from 6 a.m. Saturday until 1 a.m. Sunday. Mauka-bound lanes on Palani Road between the two highways will be closed from 6:30 a.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday.
On Makala Boulevard:
• The stretch of road between Kuakini and Queen Kaahumanu highways is closed from 6:30 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Saturday.
On Queen Kaahumanu Highway:
• The section of highway between Henry Street and Kaiminani Drive will be closed from 6:30 a.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday. An alternate route to traverse from Palani Road to Hina Lani Drive is Ane Keohokalole Highway.
• From Kaiminani Drive to Kawaihae Road, the highway will be closed from 7 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Those traveling to the airport on Saturday should use Kaiminani Drive and those traveling to resorts should use Waikoloa Road.
On Akoni Pule Highway:
• The road, also known as Highway 270, will be closed between its junction with Kawaihae Road and Hawi between 8 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. Saturday. Access to Hawi is via Kohala Mountain Road from Waimea.
Info: Call the Ironman Road Closure Hotline at 334-3400.