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TRAFFIC ALERT: Māmalahoa Hwy at Nāpo‘opo‘o Junction, Kona – Motorist Can Expect Long Delays

department-of-public-works-logo

Isemoto Contracting will be doing paving work tomorrow, Thursday, September 29th on the Māmalahoa Highway  from Shiraki’s Dry Cleaners to the Nāpō‘opo‘o Intersection.

Motorists are advised to expect delays with additional drive time of 30 – 60 minutes, as there will be traffic back-up due to alternating lane closures necessary for the paving work.

Work is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., weather and construction conditions permitting.  Isemoto Contracting and the Department of Public Works thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

Conversion to L.E.D. Streetlights Continues in Kona

The Department of Public Works, Traffic division will be conducting streetlight work on Wednesday, September 28th along Hualālai Rd. from the intersection of Kuakini Hwy. and Hualālai Rd. and then along Ali’i Dr. from the intersection of Hualālai Rd. and Ali’i Dr. heading in the southern direction.

Wednesday

Streetlight work will continue on Thursday, September 29th on Palani Rd. from the intersection of Hina Lani St. and Palani Rd., to the Palani Rd. and Queen Ka‘ahumanu Hwy. intersection.  Work for both days is scheduled between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., weather conditions permitting.

Thursday

Thursday

This work is part of the County public streetlight conversion program.  The program converts streetlights from current low-pressure sodium lamps, or LPS, to light-emitting diode lamps or LED.

Special off-duty police officers will facilitate traffic movement during intermittent lane closures.  Motorists are advised to expect delays and are encouraged to use alternate routes.

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.

Granite Awarded $875 Million Joint Venture Design-Build Transit Project in Hawaii

Granite Construction Incorporated announced today that the joint venture (JV) team comprised of Granite Construction Company, Shimmick Construction Co., Inc. and Traylor Bros., Inc. has been awarded the Airport Guideway and Stations Design-Build Contract by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. Granite will book its 33% share of the $875 million joint venture project into backlog during the third quarter of 2016.

rail-project-623

Scope of the contract includes construction of 5.2 miles of new elevated guideway between Aloha Stadium to the Middle Street Transit Center Station in Honolulu, Hawaii. The JV team is also responsible for construction of the Pearl Harbor Naval Base transit station, two stations near the Honolulu International Airport and the Middle Street station. This is the third guideway project in a series of projects to build a 20-mile light rail transit system for the City and County of Honolulu.

Construction will begin in spring 2017 and is estimated to be complete by 2021. For more information, visit http://www.honolulutransit.org/.

New Traffic Pattern at Waikoloa Intersection with Queen Kaahumanu Highway Begins Monday

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) announces the opening of the intersection of Queen Kaahumanu Highway and Waikoloa Road to traffic in all directions beginning Monday, Sept. 26, 2016.

waikoloa-intersectionThe intersection at Mile Post 75 on Route 19 was previously a three-way intersection. HDOT Highways Division, Hawaii District added an access road to the Waikoloa Beach Resort area, which allows drivers heading towards Kona on Queen Kaahumanu Highway to turn onto Waikoloa Beach Drive.

Motorists are asked to use caution when driving in the area, especially if they were used to the previous intersection configuration. Motorists coming down Waikoloa Road making the left turn onto Queen Kaahumanu Highway should be aware of the possibility of oncoming traffic from the new access road.

HDOT thanks motorists for their patience as this new four-way intersection goes into operation.

Dept. of Education Reminds Parents to Secure Vehicles in School Parking Lots

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) reminds parents to always secure their vehicles in school parking lots to prevent thefts.  Five vehicle break-ins using similar methods of entry have occurred at East Oahu public schools in September during after-school hours.  In each case, vehicle windows were broken and small items inside were stolen, including purses, bags, cell phones and laptop computers.

break-in

“Parents are reminded to be vigilant and always remove valuables or hide them from direct sight,”said HIDOE spokesperson Donalyn Dela Cruz.  “Although there is normally lots of activity on campuses during afterschool hours, such crimes of opportunity can take place in seconds, especially when valuables are left in plain sight.”

Parents can take actions to make their vehicle less attractive to property theft, including avoiding leaving valuables inside in open view, locking valuables in the trunk and installing anti-theft alarm systems.  Bags, such as backpacks and shopping bags, may be seen as a carrier of valuables by thieves and should be hidden from view.

Water Main Break Closes Kona Road

The Hawaii Police Department reports a temporary road closure of Alii Drive in Kailua Kona, from Hualalai Road to Walua Road, due to ponding of water from a water main break.

Photo via Fern Gavalek

Photo via Fern Gavelek

Motorist are being advised to avoid this location and take alternate routes. The expected closure times are approximately 4 to 6 hours.

“Sea to Sky” – Rebuilding Hōkūalaka’i

A free youth event called “Sea to Sky” will be held this weekend.  This event is designed to bring different aspects of our island together with the common purpose of rebuilding the voyaging canoe, Hōkūalaka’i.  The Hōkūalaka’i will be used for teaching purposes on Hawaiʻi Island and beyond. Hōkūalakaʻi’s home is in the same location (Palekai) that the historic Hōkūleʻa departed from on its world wide voyage.

hokulakaiThis will be the first of many “Sea to Sky” events at Palekai in Hilo.  It will be an all day event with something for everyone to enjoy.  We have invited many members of the scientific field to have fun educational learning stations available for kids and all participants will be hosted with great food and activities. The focus of the monthly events are structured to:

  • Unite community in helping to restore the voyaging canoe, Hōkūalaka’i.
  • Promote indigenous knowledge in science programs
  • Increase cultural relevance
  • Create opportunities to pursue careers in science and culture education fields

The schedule for the September 24th will be:

  • 8:00-8:30am Informal meet, setup and discuss days activities and work planned for the canoe.
  • 8:45-9:30am ‘awa ceremony and welcome
  • 9:30-11:30am Work on Hōkūalakaʻi, Visit Learning Stations, and Site Beautification Project
  • 11:30-12:30pm Lunch
  • 1:00-4:30 Paddling, Sailing, Swimming (Ocean Activities)
  • 4:30-5:00 Closing talk and cleanup

We will have “Learning Stations” and a variety of organizations joining us each week. Come down to Palekai and join in the community effort to restore Hōkūalakaʻi and help our youth learn about the science and culture that is happening on the Big Island.

If you would like to setup a booth to help educate kids, please contact us!  This will be an on-going event to share Hawaii’s Science and Culture with our youth and each other.  We will be publishing more details and our upcoming events on our website: http://alohapueo.org/pueo-events

Matson Pays Tribute to Master Navigator “Papa Mau”

Matson, a leading U.S. carrier in the Pacific, continued its 20th anniversary celebration in Guam and Micronesia with a special vessel naming ceremony honoring one of Micronesia’s most renowned navigators — Pius “Mau” Piailug, fondly known in the Pacific navigation community as “Papa Mau.”

Mau Piailug, who died July 12 at 78 on the western Pacific island of Satawal.

Mau Piailug, passed away on July 12, 2010 at the age of 78 on the western Pacific island of Satawal.

Members of the Piailug family arrived from islands throughout Micronesia to attend the ceremony at the Port Authority of Guam, and members of the Yapese community on Guam honored Piailug’s memory with traditional performances as the vessel was officially blessed and named “Papa Mau.”

“Matson is proud to christen the newest vessel in its Guam / Micronesia service Papa Mau in honor of ‘Mau’ Piailug’s singular influence in the perpetuation of traditional wayfinding and celestial navigation,” said Bernadette Valencia, Matson general manager for Guam and Micronesia. “As the Papa Mau navigates the islands in the Pacific for many years to come, we will be reminded of ‘Mau’s’ far reaching legacy.”

Piailug, who passed away in 2010, was from the island of Satawal and widely known for sharing his knowledge with navigators throughout the Pacific. In 1976, he guided the crew of the Hawaii voyaging canoe Hokule´a on its historic 34-day voyage from Hawaii to Tahiti using nothing but traditional navigation methods.

Nainoa Thompson, Hokule’a navigator, president of Polynesian Voyaging Society and one of five Hawaii navigators upon whom Piailug bestowed the traditional master navigator title of pwo in 2007, said of the ship naming, “It honors his name, his legacy and what he has done for all Pacific people.”

Hawaii Celebrates National Child Passenger Safety Week with Free Car Seat Checks Statewide

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is teaming up with the four county police departments and child passenger safety advocates to promote National Child Passenger Safety Week, September 18-24.

During Child Passenger Safety Week and throughout the year, Hawaii’s child passenger safety technicians are dedicated to helping parents and caregivers learn how to correctly install child safety seats and properly buckle up their keiki, whether it’s in child safety seats, booster seats or when using the vehicle’s seat belts.

“Hawaii’s keiki are our most precious asset, we can and need to do better to give them the future they deserve,” said Ford Fuchigami, Hawaii Department of Transportation Director. “Parents and caregivers can improve their child’s safety by simply using child safety seats, booster seats and seat belts properly.”

In Hawaii, children under 4 years old are required to ride in a child safety seat; children 4 through 7 years old must ride in a child passenger restraint or booster seat. Violators are required to appear in court, and if convicted, must attend a four-hour class. They may also be assessed a penalty of up to $500.

According to 2014 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 24 percent of children ages 4 through 7 years old were prematurely moved to seat belts, and 9 percent were unrestrained. Children should remain in booster seats until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall and can use seat belts correctly without the booster seat.

Before a child can be moved from a child safety seat to a booster seat, parents and caregivers should check for the following:

  • The lap belt fits across the child’s upper thigh;
  • The shoulder belt fits across the child’s shoulder and chest;
  • The child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the seat when his or her back and bottom are against the vehicle seat back; and
  • The child can stay seated properly during the entire trip.

Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics is now advising that children ride rear-facing until at least the age of 2. To educate the public about this recommendation and Hawaii’s child restraint law, the HDOT is airing public service announcements on television and in movie theaters statewide. Hawaii’s child passenger safety media campaign is 100-percent federally funded.

Hawaii has more than 340 certified child passenger safety technicians, including firefighters, law enforcement officers, medical professionals and parents. All technicians have been trained to provide instruction on choosing the right car seat, installing it and using it correctly.

“Each county has child restraint inspection stations and community car seat checks to ensure that all children return home safe,” said Fuchigami. “Parents and caregivers should utilize these free resources to better protect their children.”

seat-checksFree public car seat check events will be held on National Seat Check Saturday, September 24, at the following locations and times:  

Oahu
Waipio Shopping Center, Waipahu
94-1040 Waipio Uka St.
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Hawaii
Target, Hilo
391 E. Makaala St., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Target, Kailua-Kona
74-5455 Makala Blvd., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Kauai

Walmart, Lihue, 3-3300 Kuhio Highway 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A community seat check event will also be held on Saturday,

September 17, at:  Maui

Maui Marketplace, Kahului, 270 Dairy Road,  10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Child Passenger Safety Week is sponsored by NHTSA. For more on child safety, as well as a list of child restraint inspection stations and community car seat check, visit:  www.kipchawaii.org or www.safercar.gov/parents

30-Year-Old Kona Woman Dies in Three-Vehicle Crash

A 30-year-old woman died from a three-vehicle traffic crash Thursday evening (September 15) in North Kona near the 28.5 mile marker of Hawaiʻi Belt Road (Route 190).

sarah-thurber

She has been identified as Sarah Thurber of Kailua-Kona.

Responding to a 9:26 p.m. call, police determined that Thurber had been traveling north on the Hawaiʻi Belt Road in a 2007 Kia sedan when the car crossed the centerline of the highway and crashed head-on into a 2016 Jeep SUV traveling south and operated by a 50-year-old California woman. The collision caused the Jeep to spin and collide with a 2016 Hyundai SUV, also traveling south, which was being operated by a 49-year-old Nevada woman.

The driver and passenger of the Jeep were taken to Kona Community Hospital, where they both are listed in stable condition.

The driver and passenger of the Hyundai were not injured.

Thurber was taken to North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 12:45 a.m. Friday (September 16).

It was not immediately known if speed or alcohol were factors in the crash.

The Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation. Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Kimo Keliipaakaua at 326-4646, extension 229. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

This is the 21st traffic fatality this year compared with 15 at this time last year.

Hawaii Department of Transportation Plans Mileage Based User Fee Demonstration Using Federal Grant

Demonstration to focus on operational considerations for transition to a mileage based user fee for highway maintenance

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Highways Division, in partnership with the four county governments, is planning to test a statewide mileage based user fee as a potential source of revenue for the State Highway Fund.

Click to read about the demonstration

Click to read about the demonstration

HDOT Highways Division is pursuing a mileage based user fee as a possible replacement to the fuel tax, which currently makes up 33 percent of State Highway Fund revenue. A statewide mileage based user fee demonstration would allow HDOT Highways Division to test operational considerations in the assessment and collection of a sustainable source of funding to maintain and build Hawaii roadways.

Details of the planned test, or demonstration, are available in a grant proposal sent by HDOT Highways Division to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The grant proposal may be downloaded at http://hidot.hawaii.gov/administration/library/publications/

HDOT Highways Division was awarded a $3.988 million grant from FHWA based on the grant proposal. A total of $14.2 million was awarded to eight states on a competitive basis. Hawaii received the largest Surface Transportation Funding Alternatives grant award for this grant cycle. HDOT is working with a consortium of states, such as Oregon, Washington, California, and Colorado, who have or are in the process of performing their demonstration project.

The mileage based user fee demonstration will include outreach and ample opportunities for public feedback. HDOT Highways Division will make updates on the demonstration to Hawaii drivers through mailings, news releases, and through the department website at http://hidot.hawaii.gov/

Hokulea and Aha Punana Leo Converge on Kahnawake – Heading Towards Great Lakes

As Hokulea continues forth on her Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, the crew and founding board members of Aha Punana Leo-a Native Hawaiian nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing the Hawaiian language for future generations in Hawaiʻi-honored a relationship that spans nearly 5,000 miles and 40 years of revolutionaries working together to revitalize and perpetuate the core of indigenous knowledge.

hokulea-mohawke

Passing through the 34th lock to get to the upper Montreal area of the St. Lawrence river, Hokulea docked at her first Marina within a Native Reserve-the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake.

This gathering was yet another opportunity along this Worldwide Voyage to honor the collaborative work being done in native communities to keep indigenous knowledge alive and relevant to the world around us. Additionally, the crew of Hokulea, the founding members of Aha Punana Leo, and the Mohawk community hope to inspire and perpetuate native knowledge and language for generations to come.

nainoa-with-mohawks

Kauanoe Kamana, founding board member and current president of Aha Punana Leo, addressed both groups in Hawaiian. “The connection between our work in language revitalization and the pursuits of our waʻa Hokulea, have to do with the fact that we set out with our work, prepared and with a strong resolve to succeed as best as we can,” said Kamana as translated in English. “But, we donʻt know what the result will be until we actually arrive.”

“Your work in the past had huge impact in Hawaiʻi, and the fact that you would allow us to bring our leaders up here, our pioneers, our courageous individuals, Pila Wilson, his wife Kauanoe, Nāmaka,” said Nainoa Thompson, Pwo navigator. “These are the ones that are changing the world and bringing back the language with your help,” Thompson added.

The Mohawk community is home to the immersion program whose leaders helped pave the way for Hawaiʻi’s immersion program in the early ʻ80’s. Dorothy Lazore was instrumental in establishing the Mohawk language immersion program in Kahnawake and spoke before Hawaiʻi’s Board of Education on the day that Hawaiʻi DOE’s immersion program was approved-a program that has become a model nationally and internationally.

mohawks“As you were telling us just how we helped you and how we were an inspiration for your people, and how our teachers went out to help you to revitalize what could have been lost in one generation or in two,” said Kanentokon Hemlock, Bear Clan Chief of the Kanonsonnionwe Long House. “It’s interesting because you inspire us.We look to you. We follow your inspiration too in all the work you have been doing in your land,” Hemlock shared.

During this monumental visit, crew members of Hokulea and Mohawk natives gathered at the Kanonsonnionwe Long House as they welcomed each other by exchanging gifts and songs in their native languages. Kālepa Baybayan, captain of Hokulea’s leg 23 of the Worldwide Voyage, presented Kanentokon Hemlock, Bear Clan Chief of the Kanonsonnionwe Long House, with a traditional Hawaiian feather or kahili.

“Working together like this-that is the key to our collective success! It is that kind of mindset, thinking not just about the individual, but thinking about all of us-us as an ʻohana,” said in Hawaiian by Kamanā.

Leg 23 Sail Plan

Leg 23 Sail Plan

HELCO Announces Partial Lane Closure for Transmission Line Upgrades

Hawaii Electric Light Company announces a partial lane closure along sections of Highway 190 from just south of Puu Waawaa (23-mile marker) to Makalei Golf Course (32-mile marker) from mid-September through December 2016. The closure will allow crews to upgrade transmission lines and equipment to improve system reliability.

helco-lane-closure

Contractors are expected to begin hole digging operations starting mid-September. One lane will be closed to traffic from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Motorists are advised to expect delays of up to 20 minutes and encouraged to use alternate routes, if possible.

Hawaii Electric Light regrets any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

For questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

Kauai Launches First Traditional Voyaging Canoe

Namahoe, Kauai’s first traditional voyaging canoe, made her inaugural launch into the waters of Nawiliwili Bay at high noon yesterday.  The historic birth of the canoe is the culmination of more than 20 years of work by Kauai’s voyaging group Na Kalai Waa o Kauai under the leadership of John Kruse, Dennis Chun and the late Dr. Patrick Aiu.  The Kauai community joined by voyagers and supporters from though out Hawaii and the Pacific celebrated Namahoe’s launch with festivities held today at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

namahoe-frontWith the birth of Namahoe, which means Gemini, the guiding constellation from Oahu to Kauai, there are now eight traditional voyaging canoes in Hawaii.  According to Kruse, Namahoe may be the first voyaging canoe launched from Kauai in close to 600 years.  At 72-feet long, the canoe is also the largest in the Hawaiian islands.

“Namahoe already holds so much mana from the many hands in the community that helped to build her over the last 20 years,” said Chun.  “The community on Kauai needs to have its own voyaging canoe to help perpetuate the culture and values of our ancestors and to provide educational opportunities for our young people.”

namahoe“I commend John, Dennis and the late Dr. Aiu for their vision and years of extraordinary dedication to building a voyaging canoe for Kauai and its people,” said Nainoa Thompson, president, Polynesian Voyaging Society.  “To see there are now eight voyaging canoes in Hawaiian waters since Hokulea was born 41 years ago shows that the people of Hawaii share a desire to protect our past and our most cherished values,” he said.

All former crewmembers of Hokulea, Kruse, Chun and Aiu were first inspired to build a canoe for Kauai back in 1995, after the construction of Makalii on Hawaii Island.

Hawai’i Interagency Biosecurity Plan Formed to Protect Environment, Agriculture, Economy and Health

Hawai‘i is at an invasive species crossroads: the islands are home to more endangered species than any other state. Between 80-90% of all food is imported, and there are more than 8 million visitors annually, with hundreds of arriving flights and ships carrying cargo.

All images courtesy Hawaii DLNR

All images courtesy Hawaii DLNR

Residents of Hawai‘i know that its environment and way of life are special. Many of the native plants and animals exist nowhere else in the world, and the ability to grow food locally and be connected to the land is critical to maintaining an island identity. As invasive species continue to arrive in Hawai‘i and spread through the islands, the environment, agriculture, economy, and even human health are at risk.  Coqui frogs, fire ants, albizia, and mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue fever and Zika virus provide recent examples of impacts to Hawai‘i.  Broad, comprehensive strategies are needed to protect our economy, environment and way of life.

“My administration has focused on doing the right thing the right way. Protecting Hawai‘i from the impacts of invasive species will require agencies and industries to work together to build a better biosecurity system,” said Gov. David Ige. “Our actions now will result in a more robust agriculture industry, protect our natural resources, our economy, and our unique way of life here in Hawai‘i.”

biosecurity-planaBetter biosecurity is Hawai‘i’s path forward from this invasive species crossroad. The term biosecurity encompasses the full set of policies and actions that minimize risk from invasive species. This means pre-border actions to prevent invasive species from reaching our shores, border inspections and quarantine to detect new arrivals, and post-border control for species that have made their way into the state.

biosecurity-planbThe State’s first line of defense against invasive species has always been the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, but in the 21st century we need partners,” said Scott Enright, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.  “The threat of potential invasive species goes beyond HDOA’s mandate and this new interagency biosecurity plan will help the State focus on important priorities that will protect the environment and agriculture in Hawaii now and in the future.”

biosecurity-planc

The State of Hawai‘i developed its first comprehensive, interagency approach to biosecurity through the 2017-2027 Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan. The intended scope of this plan is to address all three biosecurity areas (pre-border, border, and post-border) and to strategically coordinate actions across a wide range of agencies and partners. The planning process, led by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), has joined the efforts of industry representatives and state, federal, and county agencies to identify policy, process, and infrastructure needs over the next decade. The plan is currently in draft form and awaits public review and input at a series of meetings across the state in early October.

biosecurity-plandIn Hawai‘i the concept of laulima is followed: many hands working together. The Hawai‘i Interagency Biosecurity Plan is a blueprint for conservationists, farmers, researchers, and private citizens to join together and help protect this special place. While the draft plan includes over 150 coordinated actions that would substantially enhance our biosecurity system, 10 key areas highlighted for improvements are listed below. :

1)      Off-shore compliance: Agreements with other jurisdictions to adopt pre-shipping inspection and control policies.

2)      E-manifest and intelligence gathering: Using new technology to track what’s coming in, what’s high-risk, and what’s low-risk (for faster release).

3)      Inspection facilities: Well-lit, secure areas for efficient inspections, refrigerated areas for produce.

4)      Inspection of non-agricultural items: HDOA has authority and staff to inspect high-risk non-agricultural items.

5)      Emergency response capacity: Interagency plans, protocols, and funding in place for timely and effective response to new pest incursions.

6)      Better coordination and participation by industries: Expand HISC into an Invasive Species Authority to provide industry a seat at the table and coordinate complex interagency efforts.

7)      Renewed focus on human health: A fully restored DOH Vector Control Branch to detect vectors of dengue, Zika, rat lungworm, and more.

8)      Enhanced control of established pests: Adequate field staff at HDOA, Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Department of Health (DOH), and the University of Hawai‘i (UH) to control established invasive species and improved laboratories to support effective biocontrol.

9)      Minimize interisland spread: Increased staff and inspections for interisland goods, support to local farms and nurseries via certification programs and import substitution programs.

10)   Engaged and supportive community: Targeted outreach to different stakeholder groups to increase awareness and engagement in biosecurity programs.

Hokulea Crosses Paths With The World’s Largest Viking Ship

During Hokulea’s historic sail on the Erie Canal this week, the canoe crossed paths with the Draken Harald Harfagre, a modern day Viking ship from Norway on a similar mission of connecting the ancient ways of sailing with modern-day exploration. One from Hawaii and the other from Norway, both sailing vessels are connecting their crews with their past by tracing the ocean routes and voyaging traditions of their ancestors.

drakkenUpon arrival at New York’s Sylvan Beach, located on the east shore of Oneida Lake adjacent to the Erie Canal, on Wednesday, Hokulea tied up bow-to-bow with Draken Harald Harfagre. Hokulea crew members welcomed the Draken crew on board the traditional Polynesian canoe. They also received the opportunity to board the 114 feet long, 80-ton ship with a 3,200 square foot sail from Norway crafted from oak.

The two crews exchanged gifts as a gesture of respect and friendship. Kalepa Baybayan, captain of Hokulea’s leg 23 of the Worldwide Voyage, presented Draken Captain Bjorn Ahlander with a traditional Hawaiian feather standard or kahili, and the Hokulea crew members received a book from the Draken Harald Harfagre crew that contained photos of the majestic vessel sailing alongside icebergs and through snow storms.

drakken2“The mission was to prove that it is possible to sail the ocean with a Viking ship. We knew that before, because we got findings from (Viking explorer) Leif Eriksson around year 1000 in North America, many years before Christopher Columbus found India,” said Ahlander of the Draken Harald Harfagre as he described the start of his crew’s journey. “The mission was to prove that it was possible to go the historic voyage from Norway to Iceland, Iceland to Greenland, Greenland to Newfoundland, and we did it,” Ahlander stated.
drakken3“A lot of people do not move far from where they come from, and I think that’s a pity because people all over the world are different, we can learn so much from each other,” said Erik Rolfmoller, deckhand for the Draken Harald Harfagre. “The exploration and the development you go through personally when you go exploring is very important,” Rolfmoller added.

Named after Harald Harfagre, the king who unified Norway into one kingdom, the dragon ship was constructed in the town of Haugesund in Western Norway in March of 2010. In 2012, Draken Harald Harfagre launched for the first time on trial sails in the waters along the Norwegian coastline. Draken Harald Harfagre made her first lengthy roundtrip ocean voyage from Haugesund, Norway, to Liverpool, England in the summer of 2014. In late April of this year, the world’s largest viking ship built in modern times left Norway to sail off for a challenging voyage across the North Atlantic Ocean.

drakken4Both crews from the Viking ship and Polynesian canoe connected on their shared purpose of making the ancient ways of sailing still highly relevant in today’s modern world, by retracing and honoring the sea routes of their ancestors and perpetuating the spirit of exploration. Additionally, Hokulea crew shared with the Draken crew the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage’s mission of caring for Island Earth, and finding stories of hope from the places and people they encounter along their journey.

Hokulea is currently docked in Oswego, NY on Lake Ontario and will be heading for Ontario, Canada next.

Hawaii Department of Transportation Prepares for Hurricanes

The Highways, Harbors and Airports Divisions within the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) are making preparations in advance of the severe weather forecast from Hurricanes Madeline and Lester, which are tracking toward the state. Residents and visitors should continue to monitor current conditions with the National Weather Service and media outlets.

Department of Transportation logoThe public is advised that despite precautions, ponding may still occur on the roadways if too much water falls in a short period of time, as was the case with Tropical Storm Darby on July 24, 2016 when approximately 11 inches of rain fell over Oahu within a matter of hours. The public is asked to be vigilant, monitor conditions and follow instructions from authorities. In cases of severe weather, the best option may be to stay home or indoors if possible.

HIGHWAYS:
Crews will be ready to respond as necessary should a roadway be impacted. Equipment is being staged in areas that have experienced storm damage in the past. Storm drains, particularly those in areas prone to flooding, will be checked for blockage and will be monitored to ensure they continue to function at maximum capacity. Fuel tanks are being topped off and ready for 24-hour cleanup mode.

HDOT is working with contractors on construction sites to remove the best management practices (BMP) that could obstruct the flow of water, such as drain sleeves and other filtration devices. Previously scheduled lane closures and construction projects may be altered depending on weather conditions.

As always, we strongly encourage drivers to use the many applications and resources available to check up to the minute traffic conditions. HDOT offers www.GoAkamai.org which is a website with current traffic conditions and incidents on the state freeways, 200 traffic cameras around Oahu, drive times and more. With the free MyGoAkamai feature drivers can receive customized alerts and information pertinent to their specific route, time and day they are on the road. Looking at traffic conditions in advance can help people decide which route is best or if they should adjust the time they start their trip.

There are also a variety of other free traffic related applications and services available to help people with their planning. Drivers should feel free to use whichever resource they are comfortable with. People should look up the information on their devices prior to getting behind the wheel of their car. Remember to drive safely and obey traffic laws.

HAWAII COUNTY
HDOT is preparing to close the Umauma Bridge as a precaution, as has been done in the past. The Bridge will remain open as long as possible. In the event it is closed people should expect delays in the area. Motorists should follow the signage to the alternate route on the Old Mamalahoa Highway.

MAUI COUNTY
Equipment is being staged in areas such as Hana Highway in an effort to respond to landslides and reopen roadways as quickly as possible. We are coordinating with contractors to ensure additional workers will be available if necessary.

Crews are repairing a section of Honoapiilani Highway near mile marker 13 in order to prevent further erosion damage. The repairs are in line with federal highway safety regulations.

OAHU
Crews are placing large sandbags on School Street near Liliha Street to help prevent water from flowing down to the H-1 Freeway. This is an area that experienced flooding during Tropical Storm Darby.

Crews are assessing Kamehameha Highway near Kaaawa and will work to reduce the risk of erosion damage from the high surf.

KAUAI
Crews will continue to monitor the conditions, check storm drains for blockage, top off fuel tanks, and ensure equipment is in proper working order.

HARBORS:
HDOT Harbors Division works in close coordination with the United States Coast Guard (USCG). The USCG will determine condition levels and ultimately make the decision to close a port. Certain condition levels will trigger preparations for the State to ensure harbor facilities are protected and readying the port for the possibility of strong winds and high surf. This includes securing flying hazards, ensuring boats are properly tied to piers, and ensuring oily mixtures and trash are properly disposed.  This condition will also prompt certain vessels to declare their intentions of whether they intend to stay in port if conditions change.

AIRPORTS:
HDOT Airports Division has protocols in place for pre-storm arrival preparations for any major natural disaster.  Per protocol, vehicles, emergency generators, pumping stations, and equipment are topped off with fuel.  Emergency fuel is also made ready for deployments as directed.

State firefighters stationed at the airport facilities are ready to respond to situations as necessary. Plans are in place for emergency heavy duty equipment to be secured at designated locations around the facility to provide safe haven for all equipment that would be needed to work on the airfield after the storm.

HDOT Airports Division works with the airlines to ensure equipment is secured. As a reminder, HDOT does not control the aircrafts in flight. It is up to the airline and individual pilots to determine if conditions are safe enough to fly. Passengers should consult their airline for current flight information.

Vacation, Leave/Comp Time Urged for State Employees in Anticipation Obama Traffic

Gov. David Ige is urging state department directors to be liberal in granting state employees vacation, leave and compensatory time to leave work early Wednesday afternoon.

President Barack Obama's motorcade leaves his rental home, Monday, Dec. 29, 2014, in Kailua, Hawaii, en route to the gym, during the Obama family vacation. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Barack Obama’s motorcade leaves his rental home, Monday, Dec. 29, 2014, in Kailua, Hawaii, en route to the gym, during the Obama family vacation. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Barack Obama’s arrival in Honolulu on Aug. 31, will result in significant closures of major thoroughfares and surface streets in the later afternoon and early evening, as the president is transported to scheduled engagements related to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Conservation Congress.

The governor is asking directors to grant vacation, leave and compensatory time as operations permit, to relieve traffic congestion on O‘ahu’s roadways and to allow thousands of state workers to meet their family commitments.

All state offices will remain open during regular business hours.

Hokulea Begins Travel to North American Great Lakes Using Complex Waterway Lock System

Precision, timing and patience: these meticulous elements are crucial to the success of Hokulea’s most current leg of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, as the canoe and her crew are set to encounter lock after lock on their first-time sail to the Great Lakes of North America. A lock is a complex waterway system used for raising and lowering watercraft between bodies of water of different levels on rivers and waterways.

locks4The traditional voyaging canoe from Hawaii left Waterford, New York early this morning and docked at Riverlink Marina in Amsterdam, New York at around 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Crew members are now prepped to sail the Erie Canal locks and bridges, taking the Oswego detour to pass through 30 locks to reach Lake Ontario.

locksThe canoe first encountered the waterway lock system in March this year during her Florida sail. However, this current series of locks is the most extensive lock system that the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage has experienced, and the crew will take this time to learn the more intricate details about the physics of the lock system. On this leg of the voyage, the canoe has been elevated by the waterway locks by a collective total of 250 feet.

locks2The Hokulea crew plans to re-start sailing tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. ET. After completing the first ten 10 locks today, they are aiming to complete Locks 11-18, with Lock 17 having the highest water lift of 40 feet.

locks3This current leg will bring Hokulea the furthest north that she will travel on the Worldwide Voyage.

61-Year-Old Na’alehu Man Dies in Single Motor Vehicle Crash

One 61-year-old man died in a single motor vehicle traffic crash Monday morning (August 29) in South Kona near the 85-mile marker of Hawaiʻi Belt Road (Route 11).

HPDBadgeHe has been identified as Brysson Lorenzo Sr. of Nāʻālehu.

Responding to a 2:57 a.m. call, police determined that Lorenzo had been operating a 1994 Kenworth tractor-trailer northbound on Hawaiʻi Belt Road near the 85-mile marker when he ran off the right shoulder of the roadway and collided with a rock embankment. The collision caused the tractor-trailer to overturn onto its left side and catch fire. Lorenzo was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:40 a.m.

Police do not believe speed was a factor in this crash and it is not immediately known if alcohol was a factor.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

The Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and is asking for anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Kimo Keliipaakaua at 326-4646, extension 229. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

This is the 17th traffic fatality this year compared with 15 at this time last year.