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Hawaii County Civil Defense Message on King Tides

This is a Civil Defense message.  This is an Extreme High Tides Message for Thursday, June 22.

The National Weather Service reports unusually high tides, also known as “King Tides”, may cause dangerous flooding conditions along all shores of Hawaii Island from today through the weekend before gradually subsiding next week.

The water came over the parking lot at Coconut Island last King Tide.

Due to King Tides, be aware that coastal areas of beaches, low-lying roads, boat ramps, and harbors may be dangerously impacted during the afternoon and evening hours.

These tides may cause higher than usual beach run-up, flooding, and erosion.

Because of these dangerous conditions, the following precautions should be taken; ocean front residents, beach-goers, and boat owners are advised to be on the alert for high surf, strong current, and coastal flooding.

As a precaution, consider postponing ocean activities until these hazards are over.  As always, precautionary measures should be taken before the onset of night fall.

Special caution should be taken to the coastal areas in and around Kapoho during the high tide periods.

There are no closures of roads or beaches at this time. Please be aware however that closures may occur without notice.

Radio station will be updated and you will be informed of any conditions that may affect your safety.

Thank you and have have a safe day.

Informational Public Meetings for Hawaii County’s FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is at the end of a multi-year effort to update and modernize the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for Hawai‘i County.  The FIRM has been finalized and will become effective on September 29, 2017.  The opportunities to appeal the maps were over last year.  The FIRM will help community officials better identify known flood risks and will be used for flood insurance, land use, development, and regulatory purposes.  Use of the FIRM is required for the County’s participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which makes the County eligible for federal disaster aid in the event of a federally declared natural disaster.

Click to access the Flood Assessment Tool

The main purpose of these informational public meetings is:

To inform property owners, residents, and interested parties about the impacts the final Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) will have on flood insurance.  It will help them make an informed decision about flood insurance options and flood protection measures.  The details on the two informational public meetings are shown below:

  • Hilo – Wednesday, July 12, 2017, Aupuni Center Conference Room, 101 Pauahi St., Suite 1, Hilo, HI  96720, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Kona – Thursday, July 13, 2017, West Hawaii Civic Center, Bldg. G, 75-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy., Kailua Kona, HI  96740, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Doors open at 5:00 p.m., formal presentation starts at 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Personnel from FEMA, State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), and Hawai‘i County will be available to answer questions, concerns, and provide information on flood insurance and property specific flood zone determinations.

The final FIRMs are currently available for viewing at the Hawai‘i County Department of Public Works Engineering offices at either 101 Pauahi St., Suite 7 in Hilo (808 961-8327) or 74-5044 Ane Keohokālole Hwy., Building D, 1st  floor of the West Hawai‘i Civic Center in Kona (808 323-4850). They are also available for online viewing on the State of Hawai‘i’s Flood Hazard Assessment Tool (FHAT) at http://gis.hawaiinfip.org/fhat.  To learn how to view the preliminary maps using the FHAT, click on the tutorial link provided on the Hawai‘i NFIP Website http://dlnreng.hawaii.gov/nfip/.

Be advised that flood insurance rates will be based on the new flood data.  If a property is mapped into a high-risk area (an SFHA labeled with letters starting with “A” or “V”) on the new FIRM and the owner has a mortgage through a federally regulated or insured lender, flood insurance will be required when the FIRM becomes effective.  Property owners who obtain flood insurance before the FIRM becomes effective may be able to benefit from the NFIP’s “grandfathering” insurance rating process and pay a lower premium.

Everyone is at some risk from flooding, even those behind levees or in low or medium-risk areas. Therefore, FEMA encourages everyone to purchase flood insurance.  Property owners should contact their insurance agent or visit www.FloodSmart.gov for more information.

If you require special accommodations or auxiliary aid/ and or services to participate in this meeting, (i.e. Sign language interpreter, large print,) please call (808) 961-8321 by July 5, 2017.

For more information call Barett Otani, Department of Public Works Information and Education Specialist at (808) 961-8787.

Repaving Work on Komohana Street to Begin on Wednesday

The County Highway Maintenance Division will begin repaving work on Komohana St. from Kūkūau St. to Mohouli St. on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, and is estimated to be completed by Friday, June 23, 2017.  Working hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., weather conditions permitting.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution as heavy vehicles and machinery will be in the work zone.  One lane closures, alternate lane closures, lane shifts will be in effect and at a minimum, one lane of travel (for two way traffic) will be provided at all times through the construction area.  The lane closures are necessary to complete the roadway resurfacing work in a timely manner and for the safety of the workers and the traveling public.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please contact Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist at 961-8787.

Sidewalk Repair on Pahoa Village Road Begins Next Week

The County of Hawai‘i  Department of Public Works Highways Division will be repairing the sidewalk on the Pāhoa Village Rd. fronting the former Luquin’s Mexican Restaurant and the Pāhoa, Puna Buy and Sell buildings that were destroyed by a fire on January 16, 2017.

Work will begin on Monday, June 19th and is estimated to be completed by Tuesday, June 27th, weather and construction conditions permitting.  Work hours are between 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution as heavy vehicles and machinery will be in the work zone. Alternating lane closures will be in effect.  At a minimum, one lane of travel (for two-way traffic) will be provided at all times through the construction area.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please contact Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Hilo Traffic Alert for Next Week

The Department of Public Works Traffic Division will be upgrading the traffic signal controller at the Maka‘ala St. and Kanoelehua Ave. intersection on Wednesday, June 14th between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., weather conditions permitting.

Work will continue on Thursday, June 15th at the Waiānuenue Ave. and Ka‘iulani St. intersection between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., weather conditions permitting.  Work involves removing and replacing the makai bound mast arm and traffic signal.

The traffic signals at both intersections will be shut down during the scheduled work hours and special off-duty police officers will be in the area to facilitate traffic movement.  Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Traffic Signal Work in Kea’au Tomorrow (Weather Permitting)

The Department of Public Works Traffic Division will be replacing the traffic signal controller cabinet at the Highway 11 intersection with the Kea‘au-Pāhoa Rd. and the Shipman Park entrance on Friday, June 2, 2017 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., weather conditions permitting.

The traffic signals at the intersection will be shut down during this 4-hour work period and special off-duty police officers will be in the area to facilitate traffic movement.  Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Safety Repairs Begin Today on Ali’i Drive Bridge

The Department of Public Works will be doing safety repairs beginning today on the Ali‘i Drive Bridge located on the Waiaha Drainageway near Kona Tiki Hotel.

Work involves repairing/removing the damaged railings.  Beach goers and pedestrians are advised to avoid the area until the safety repairs have been completed.  Motorists are advised to drive with caution, beware of pedestrians and bicyclists, and to expect delays as alternating lanes closures may be implemented.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please contact Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Shoulder Widening and Drainage Improvements in Keaukaha Area

The County of Hawai‘i  Department of Public Works Highways Division will be working on shoulder widening and drainage improvements for Desha Ave., Pua Ave., Baker Ave., and Todd Ave. beginning on Tuesday, May 30, 2017.

Work is scheduled between the hours of 8:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M., Monday through Friday, except on holidays and weekends.  The project is estimated to be completed by the end of June 2017, weather and construction conditions permitting.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution as heavy vehicles and machinery will be in the work zone.  The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please contact Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Hawaii County Civil Defense Alert on King Tides

This is an extreme tides and high surf message for Wednesday, May 24th at 11:10 A.M. The National Weather Service reports unusually high tides, also known as “king tides,” may cause intermittent coastal flooding along all shores of the Hawaii Island from today through the holiday weekend.

Beach flooding and standing water on roadways and low-lying coastal areas are possible, especially during the afternoon high tides each day.

In conjunction with the unusually high tide, an incoming large south swell is expected to build on Friday and will continue through the Memorial Day weekend. The expected high surf may further affect high tide impacts resulting in additional beach run-up, flooding and erosion.

Oceanfront residents and beachgoers are advised to be on the alert for possible high and dangerous surf. As a precaution, boat owners and oceanfront residents should take actions to secure their property from possible tidal inundation and coastal flooding.

Precautionary actions should be done before tomorrow afternoon.

Thank you. This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Roadway Resurfacing Work on Ka’iminani Drive Rescheduled to Tuesday June 13th

Resurfacing work on Ka’iminani Dr., from the Palamanui (Ane Keohokālole Hwy.) intersection to the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Hwy. that was originally scheduled to begin on May 16th has been rescheduled to Tuesday, June 13, 2017, due to a mechanical failure with the Asphalt paver. The resurfacing work is anticipated to be completed by Friday, June 16, 2017.  Work hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., weather and construction conditions permitting.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution as heavy vehicles will be in the work zone.  Alternating lane closures will be in effect.  At a minimum, one lane of travel (for two-way traffic) will be provided at all times through the construction area.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please contact Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Roadway Resurfacing Work on Ka’iminani Drive to Begin on Tuesday May 16th

The County of Hawai‘i  Department of Public Works Highways Division will begin resurfacing work on Ka’iminani Dr., from the Palamanui (Ane Keohokālole Hwy.) intersection to the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Hwy. on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, to Friday, May 19, 2017.  Work is scheduled between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., weather and construction conditions permitting.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution as heavy vehicles will be in the work zone.  Alternating lane closures will be in effect.  At a minimum, one lane of travel (for two-way traffic) will be provided at all times through the construction area.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please contact Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Draft Environmental Assessment Public Meeting Ali‘i Drive Culvert Replacement Project

A public meeting on the Draft Environmental Assessment will be held on Monday, May 1, 2017 at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center’s Community Meeting Hale (Bldg. G), 74-5044 Ane Keohokālole Highway, from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM to:

  • Allow individuals to comment, ask questions, and discuss concerns regarding the Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA).
  • Discuss the County’s plans to replace the double-cell culvert bridging the Waiaha Drainageway on Ali‘i Drive; adjacent to the Kona Tiki Hotel.
  • Present the project’s description, history and scope of work, to construct a new bridge structure that has a wider stream flow opening, a longer span and wider lane bridge above.

A Draft Environmental Assessment was released on April 8, 2017, and can be obtained and viewed by selecting the April 8, 2017 edition of the Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) Environmental Notice at http://health.hawaii.gov/oeqc/.  A copy can also be viewed at the Kailua Public Library.  Comments on the project and its Draft Environmental Assessment are due on May 7, 2017.

If you require special accommodations or auxiliary aid and/or services to participate in this meeting (i.e. sign language interpreter, large print) or for more details on the meeting, please call Barett Otani, Department of Public Works, Information and Education Specialist at (808) 961-8787.

The Reason Right Hand Turn Lane Was Removed From Kilauea Street

Some time in the last few weeks, the County of Hawaii Department of Public Works decided to remove the right hand turn lane at the south end of Kilauea Street where folks use to be able to turn on to Haihai Street.

A few folks have sent me emails asking me to inquire about things and finally I put it out there the other night that I would be inquiring about this change in traffic pattern.

Former Kona Blogger Aaron Stene saw what I posted and was able to inquire with the County of Hawaii Department of Public Works as to why this change happened and he sent me the conversation between two folks in the county who knew what happened and WHY it happened.

Some time ago we got a request from then Councilman, Dennis Onishi.  The request was for a convex mirror for the Kilauea Ave/Haihai St. intersection because people had a hard time seeing turning out onto Kilauea Ave from Haihai St.

After investigating the intersection we concluded that a mirror would be ineffective at improving sight distance, particularly at the higher speeds that cars commonly drive in this area.  The problem we identified was that cars in the right turn lane restricted line of sight.  We proposed to Dennis the idea of terminating the right turn lane and merging traffic into one lane.  Our thinking was that not having the right turn lane would allow turning vehicles to have better visibility of oncoming traffic and turning vehicles would actually be able to pull out a little more to make turns.  Dennis supported our plan so we proceeded to make the change.

The one concern that I have is that driver habits in this area hamper the flow of traffic at this intersection.  Although the yield is for Hilo bound traffic, cars still tend to yield on the Puna bound side.  When this occurs, the Puna bound backup increases because the lane now consists of both right turning vehicles and through vehicles.

Our treatment is not the perfect solution, but the positive impacts of the change should be appreciated by those making turns from Haihai St, as opposed to those on Kilauea Ave.  I heard there are plans to widen the “4 Mile” bridge in a few years.  I think converting the bridge to a two-lane bridge will greatly improve traffic flow in this area.  Speeds will probably go up, but the congestion will be reduced significantly.  The other improvement that may not be possible due to lack of space is a left turn lane on Kilauea Ave for the Haihai St intersection.  Another cause for congestion is people making left turns.

Aaron Takaba

 

Commentary – Good Citizen or “Vexatious Requester”?

Dear Damon,

When it comes to transparency in government, both the requesters and requestees would do well to remember Hanlon’s razor: Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to (what we’ll diplomatically call) misunderstanding, negligence, or incompetence. To do otherwise risks the kind of policy that threatens the foundations of transparent government … as the debate over HB1518 demonstrates.

When first introduced, HB1518 put forth a very worrisome proposal: state agencies could petition the Office of Information Practices to declare someone a “vexatious requester” based on the subjective determination that the requester was a nuisance who made excessive, repetitive records requests. Having been deemed an official irritant by the state, the vexatious person would have their rights to make records requests severely limited.

The problem, of course, is that what a state employee finds annoying, an ordinary citizen can view as “just doing their job.”

And the testimony on the bill made it clear that this ambiguity about what it means to be vexing was at the heart of the controversy over the bill.

While various state agencies attested that they had been subject to serious annoyance by repetitive and “harassing” requesters, defenders of transparency attempted to put the complaints in perspective.

Brian Black of the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest showed that despite claims by UH and the Department of Agriculture that they had been “inundated” with requests that made it impossible for them to keep up with their workload (prompting the need for this law), both agencies were anything but overwhelmed. Black pointed out that of the approximately 18,000 requests fielded by all state agencies over the last three fiscal years, UH only had to deal with 42 non-routine (i.e. other than a transcript) requests and the Department of Agriculture had only 220 non-routine requests.

In other words, certain agencies seem to be vexed by any request at all.

Both Civil Beat and the Grassroot Institute pointed out that the law could be used to target the most common requesters–reporters, think tanks, researchers, and others working in the public interest. Not coincidentally, these are the people most likely to be critical of government. They’re also the ones most familiar with the ways in which agencies–whether through bureaucracy or inefficiency–can stall or obstruct a response, leading to the need for multiple requests. What an agency might call “vexatious,” an experienced researcher could simply call “trying to get the government to release the right information.”

There is good news, however, and a victory to announce. Many watchdog organizations urged the legislature to amend the bill to include due process for anyone in danger of losing their rights under the “vexatious requester” label. The committee listened, and the most current version of the bill requires the agency to plead its case for vexation to a circuit court. The burden is then on the agency to establish that the requester has abused the process established by the Uniform Information Practices Act before the court can limit the requester’s rights.

All of which means that government watchdogs can safely conduct their research of waste and corruption without worrying about being labeled “vexatious.” Though it’s no guarantee that the agencies involved won’t have plenty of other names for us.

E hana kakou (Let’s work together!),

Keli’i Akina, Ph.D.
President/CEO
Grassroot Institute

Pahoa Pool Closed March 30th for Staff Recertification

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation announces the Pahoa Pool will be closed on Thursday, March 30th, all day, due to island-wide staff recertification.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.  If you should have any questions, please feel free to call the Aquatics Specialist at 961-8694.

Emergency Proclamation for Hakalau Bridge Signed by Mayor Kim Last Month

WHEREAS, Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature provides for the establishment of County organizations for emergency management and disaster relief, with the Mayor having direct responsibility and authority over emergency management within the County; and

WHEREAS, Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature and Chapter 7, Articles 1 and 2 of the Hawai‘i County Code, establish a Civil Defense Agency within the County of Hawai‘i, and prescribe said agency’s powers, duties, and responsibilities, and Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature and Section 13‑23 of the Hawai‘i County Charter empower the Mayor of the County to declare emergencies; and

WHEREAS, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has determined that one of the bridge abutment footings for the County’s Hakalau Stream Bridge over Old Māmalahoa Highway, Bridge No. 001290001100003, 29-3 has been undermined by scouring; and

WHEREAS, the FHWA has communicated to the County that the scouring has undermined the abutment to severely compromise its integrity and stability, which may affect the bridge’s ability to safely carry vehicular loads and creates an imminent threat of the bridge suddenly collapsing; and

WHEREAS, the bridge is open to and traversed by the public for vehicular and pedestrian access; and

WHEREAS, due to the possibility of property damage and/or bodily injury to residents of Hawai‘i Island, and the need for government agencies and/or representatives from the private sector to mobilize and provide immediate services to our island residents, a local state of emergency is authorized pursuant to Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature and Chapter 7 of the Hawai‘i County Code.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, HARRY KIM, Mayor of the County of Hawai‘i, do hereby proclaim and declare that a local state of emergency exists on Hawai‘i Island, effective February 9th, 2017, to authorize the County’s Department of Public Works to take whatever actions are necessary and/or appropriate to address this local state of emergency, to continue for 60 days or until further act by this office.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the County of Hawai‘i to be affixed this 9th day of February, 2017, in Hilo, Hawaiʻi.

HARRY KIM

Mayor, County of Hawai‘i

 

Relief Stream Bridge on Kahana Drive to be Repaired

The Relief Stream Bridge No.46-10 on Kahana Drive, approximately half way between Kalehua Road and the Old Māmalahoa Highway will be closed (24-hour closure) for repair work beginning on Monday, March 13, 2017, and will re-open on Thursday, March 30, 2017.  Work is scheduled between the hours of at 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., weather and construction conditions permitting.

The repair work involves the rehabilitation of the existing bridge structure which includes replacing the old timber components (railings, decking, stringers, bearing plates, and back plates).

Motorists are advised to use alternate routes as bridge access will be blocked for the duration of the rehabilitation project.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.  If there are any questions or concerns, please call Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Third Bridge Currently Being Repaired on Pa‘auilo Mauka Road – Now Requires 24-Hour Closure

The Waika’alulu Bridge No.44-5 located on Pa‘auilo Mauka Road (between Ho’okahua Road and Kukuipapa Road) that is scheduled to be closed for repair work between the hours of  8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., now requires a 24-hour closure beginning on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 through Friday, March10, 2017.

During the process of removing the bridge railings, it was discovered that the extent of deterioration is worse than previously anticipated, and will require replacement.  Repair work will be more involved and requires a 24-hour closure necessary for the safety of the traveling public.  The closure will also allow bridge work to be completed in a safe and timely manner.  The bridge will re-open on Friday, March 10th approximately 2:00 p.m. or after the work is completed, weather and construction conditions permitting.  Motorists are advised to use alternate routes during the bridge closure.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.  If there are any questions or concerns, please call Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787

Traffic Signal Work on Palani Road Intersection

The Department of Public Works Traffic Division will be replacing the traffic signal controller cabinet at the Palani Rd. intersection with the Kona Coast Shopping Center (entrance to KTA) and Lanihau Center entrance on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., weather conditions permitting.

The traffic signals at the intersection will be shut down and special off-duty police officers will be in the area to facilitate traffic movement.  Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Kawailani Street Improvement Project to Begin Monday

Jas W. Glover Ltd., contracted by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works, will begin preparatory work for the Kawailani St. Improvement Project (Iwalani St. to Pohakulani St.) on Monday, March 6, 2017.

The contractor’s working hours for the project are from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday, weather and construction conditions permitting.  Motorists are advised to drive with caution.

The main construction activities on the roadway and intersections will begin in the last week of March 2017 and are estimated to be completed in the 4th quarter of 2018.

The project includes grading, paving; installing drainage improvements, water mains, retaining walls, and street lighting; constructing sidewalks, curbs and gutters, driveways, curb ramps and paved swales; and installing pavement markings and signs.  Traffic signals will be installed on the Iwalani St. and Kawailani St. intersection and on the Kawailani St. and Pohakulani St. intersection.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

For more information, questions or concerns, please call David Sato, Jas W. Glover Ltd. at (808) 469-1909 or Barett Otani, Department of Public Works, Information and Education Specialist at (808) 961-8787.