Increased access to Waipio Valley starts Monday

Mayor Mitch Roth has signed emergency rules creating more access for residents to Waipio Valley Road.

The rules, which don’t go into effect until Monday, allow all Hawaii Island residents, county-permitted tour company operators, and those seeking to practice their Native Hawaiian traditional and/or customary rights to access the WaipiʻoWaipioValley Road in covered 4-wheel drive vehicles.


The updated rules forbid pedestrians, uncovered vehicles — including but not limited to ATVs — and horseback access at this time. In addition, vehicles and passengers shall abide by existing traffic laws as outlined in the emergency rules.

Until Monday, access remains limited to those specified within the Mayor’s Waipio Valley Road Emergency Rule No.1, signed on Feb. 25.

“Our administration has worked incredibly hard to ensure that we put the safety of our community at the forefront of all we do, and as such, have had to make some tough decisions, including closing the valley road to some of its most frequent patrons,” said Roth. “That said, we have listened to the community, considered comments of the judge in litigation, and worked closely with the Department of Public Works and experts to explore options that would provide greater access while we plan and implement road repairs.

“In the meantime, we ask that all who choose to use the roadway do so with extreme caution and vigilance. Our teams are doing all they can to address potential hazards, and we would like to thank the community for their patience and understanding moving forward.”

A virtual community meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. today via Zoom to discuss the updated rules and hear from community members. Interested residents may access the meeting using the following link:​

The Office of the Mayor will begin issuing permits to licensed tour operators beginning on Monday.

The County reminds residents that the updated access rules only pertain to the county roadway and do not permit access to private property.

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