Bill in legislature to only allow four wheel drive on Mauna Kea - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

Bill in legislature to only allow four wheel drive on Mauna Kea Access Road

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From mountain to valley.

On Hawaii Island, both Mauna Kea and Waipio Valley face a similar problem: traffic.

"Next to Volcanoes National Park, this is one of the most popular tourist sites," Rep. Mark Nakashima said. 

Nakashima is pushing a bill that could help his district.

If it becomes law, the only cars that could legally drive on Mauna Kea Access Road or the road to Waipio Valley would have to be four-wheel-drive.

"The advice has always been four wheel drive, we find that people ignore it," Robert McLaren, interim director of UH Institute for Astronomy said. 

Some say the mountain's popularity is a problem.

"There's more visitor traffic, rental car companies no longer prohibit travel on the saddle road," McLaren said. 

A tour operator estimates at least 300 to 500 people visit the mountain each day.

Some of those taking up two wheel drive cars that can damage the mountain.

"A two wheel drive vehicle does tend to spin a bit more and create washboard," McLaren said. 

That's as they go up, when coming down. 

"Brakes catch on fire, brake failures are ongoing thing that is happening on Mauna Kea and that becomes a concern as well," Nakashima said. 

Over in Waipio valley, Nakashima says rangers count up to 1000 visitors a day.

He says both areas have been challenged. He's hoping traffic fines by way of his bill will slow the problem down.

"Any official that is designated by the county for instance would be able to issue the ticket," Nakashima said. 

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