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Hakalau Stream Bridge Repairs

Repair work on the Hakalau Stream Bridge located on the road leading to Hakalau Beach Park which is currently closed, not the bridge on State Highway 19, will begin on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, and is expected to be completed by Tuesday, April 17, 2018, weather and construction conditions permitting.

Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company was awarded the contract to repair the northern abutment that has been undermined due to scouring from the Hakalau Stream. The bridge repairs will meet Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) standards and ensure the public’s safety at this stream crossing.

The County conducted an assessment of the bridge and found the bridge’s northern abutment (foundation) has been undermined due to scouring from Hakalau Stream. A plan of action is in process to repair the bridge that will meet the National Bridge Inspection standards and ensure the public’s safety at this stream crossing.
The Hakalau Beach Park will also be closed until further notice due to the closing of the bridge.

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

All State and Federal approvals, certifications, and environmental permits required by the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) have been secured. 80% of the $1,644,000 project cost will be funded by federal funds and the county will contribute the remaining 20%.

If there are any questions or concerns regarding the bridge repair work, call Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at (808) 961-8787.

Coast Guard Seeks Mariner Input for Pacific Seacoast Study

The U.S. Coast Guard is seeking input from mariners for a study of navigation requirements in the Pacific Seacoast System.

The Waterways Analysis and Management System study will review the short range Aids to Navigation system that covers American waterways from the Canadian border to the Mexican border and around Alaska, Hawaii and all U.S. territories throughout the Pacific.

Interested mariners and maritime stakeholders can provide input by taking the survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PacSeacoastWAMS

The survey will be available until March 31, 2018.

In addition to the survey input, the system-wide study will cover international requirements, environmental concerns, user capabilities, available technology and available resources.

The study is part of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Future of Navigation initiative, the multi-year effort to analyze, optimize and modernize the navigation systems that safely guide millions of mariners and trillions of trade into U.S. ports.
“This WAMS study will help us to tailor our Aids to Navigation levels of service to better meet the needs of mariners across the Pacific Seacoast System,” said Cmdr. Justin Kimura, the chief of the Navigation Technology and Risk Management Division in the Coast Guard Office of Navigation Systems.

Managed by the U.S. Coast Guard Office of Navigation Systems and maintained by Coast Guard buoy tenders and ATON teams around the nation, Aids to Navigation help mariners to determine their position, chart a safe course and steer clear of hazards.

HDOT Celebrates New Improvement Projects at Hilo Harbor

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), Harbors Division, celebrated the blessing of Hilo Harbor’s newly completed Pier 4 cargo wharf project, the Pier 1 cargo yard and passenger terminal improvements. The projects are designed to increase operational space and increase cargo handling efficiencies. The improvements to the passenger terminal will create a more pleasant and comfortable environment for cruise passengers.

Kahu Danny Akaka Jr. performs a blessing of the Pier 4 cargo wharf project, Pier 1 cargo yard and passenger terminal improvements at Hilo Harbor.

“These projects are more than brick and mortar improvements, they’re about providing opportunities for our people and meeting the needs of our communities,” said Gov. David Ige. “We are ensuring the viability of our commercial harbor system and encouraging a healthy job market that includes work opportunities in transportation, maritime related trades, hospitality and tourism, not to mention the local consultants and contractors the state has employed to complete the job.”

The Pier 1 Shed Modifications, Phase II project consisted of several improvements that upgraded the operational efficiency at Pier 1 by removing approximately 40 percent of the Pier 1 shed structure. This will allow vessel operators improved utilization of the pier, increasing cargo yard capacity and improving the cruise passenger experience. In addition, there is new asphalt concrete pavement, fire protection and lighting in the new cargo yard.

Other improvements to the Pier 1 shed create a more pleasant and comfortable environment to enhance the cruise passenger experience in Hilo. They include renovated restrooms, a new security room, a new fire alarm system and additional fire sprinklers throughout the shed. Work also included lead paint and asbestos abatement and disposal.

“Our shed modifications at Pier 1 enable better utilization of pier side facilities, helping to improve efficiencies in our cargo yard while improvements inside the passenger terminal will make our visitors’ experience more comfortable,” explained Interim Director of Transportation, Jade Butay. “In addition, the new improvements at our Pier 4 cargo terminal will alleviate some of the logistical challenges and improve our interisland cargo operations in the Port of Hilo. I want to congratulate our Harbors team as well as our partners – the Hawaii Harbors Users Group (HHUG), our consultant and contractors on a job well done.”

Development of the Pier 4 cargo terminal was separated into several phases including: dredging, container yard development, and Kumau Street improvements. In addition to the newly constructed Pier 4 wharf structure, safety and efficiency improvements were made by separating cargo and passenger operations at Hilo Harbor. An additional berth space was also created to accommodate the growing general maritime and cruise industries. Finally, a new interisland pier replaces the aging Pier 2, which is unable to accommodate the new container handling equipment and vessels.

“This is a momentous occasion not only for the Department of Transportation Harbors Division but for our cargo operations in Hilo as well,” stated Glenn Hong, President, Young Brothers, Ltd. “We’ve worked closely with the department to design this modern interisland cargo terminal at Pier 4 that will meet Hawaii Island’s needs into the future, allowing us to return to a two ramp operation so we can continue to serve this retail market and especially the mom-n-pop businesses that are the heart of our local economy. I want to extend my appreciation to Gov. Ige and his administration, Interim Director Jade Butay, Harbors Deputy Darrell Young and his Harbors team for their collaboration and hard work in making these facility improvements a reality. Mahalo Nui!”

The Pier 4 terminal project adds much needed cargo capacity to the Port of Hilo. Constructed in the early 1920s, Pier 2 cargo activities are restricted, limiting operations and full utilization of the terminal space. Delivery of interisland cargo on Pier 2’s narrow apron requires use of the area between Piers 1 and 3, creating a comingling of both cargo and cruise ship operations that compromises the safety of passengers and pedestrians and affects cargo operating efficiency.

FREE Wi-Fi Now Available at Honolulu Airport

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Airports Division is pleased to deliver free Wi-Fi at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) just in time for the holidays. A soft launch began December 14, 2017 and within minutes travelers discovered the free Wi-Fi and immediately connected to the new service. The Wi-Fi is available through Boingo Wireless (Nasdaq: WIFI) which operates wireless networks in major airports, stadiums, campuses, military bases and commercial properties throughout the country and world.

“Free Wi-Fi is a highly requested service and my administration is thrilled to make it happen,” said Governor David Y. Ige. “Thousands of people have connected in just the first week of the new service, further enhancing the passenger experience.”

“Boingo is proud to work alongside HDOT to unlock fast, free connectivity for travelers,” said David Hagan, CEO, Boingo. “We look forward to connecting the millions of passengers that fly through Hawaii’s airports each year and satisfy their mobile demands.”

The Wi-Fi coverage area at HNL includes the Overseas Terminal and Central Concourse on the first and second levels between ticket lobbies 4-8, gates 12-25 and baggage claims E-H. Boingo is working on wireless infrastructure improvements that will add Wi-Fi coverage to the Diamond Head Concourse, Ewa Concourse and Interisland Terminal in the coming months, with airport-wide service anticipated for early spring 2018.

Customers can receive unlimited fast, free Wi-Fi sponsored by advertisers, or can opt for even faster speeds by purchasing a one-day or monthly Boingo subscription. Additional information can be found by visiting the following FAQ website by clicking here.

In addition to Wi-Fi, Boingo is building a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) network at HNL, a wireless solution that is designed to boost cellular connectivity for passengers.

HDOT and Boingo will bring Wi-Fi and DAS networks to additional airports in Hawaii including, Kahului Airport (OGG), Hilo International Airport (ITO), Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) and Lihue Airport (LIH) beginning in 2018.

Boingo offers 24/7 customer service by calling 800-880-4117 or emailing support@boingo.com.

Hawaii Current and Upcoming Highway Projects

Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Deputy Director for Highways, Ed Sniffen, provided an update today, Dec. 14, 2017, on high visibility current and upcoming highways projects statewide.

Hawaii County

  • Keaau-Pahoa Road – 4-lane restriping and Shower Drive Intersection Improvements
    • Work to add a traffic signal at the intersection of Keaau-Pahoa Road (Highway 130) and Shower Drive and the restriping project, which will remove a restricted shoulder lane and add an unrestricted travel lane through restriping from Keaau Town to Shower Drive, will be substantially completed by the beginning of 2018. An update will be sent out at the close of the project to remind Hawaii Island drivers of the changes to the area as well as the reduction of the speed limit to 45 mph (from 55 mph) on Highway 130 between MP 2.3 and 3.7 and between MP 7.4 to 9.9.
  • Queen Kaahumanu Widening, Phase 2
    • The Queen Kaahumanu Highway Widening Project, Phase 2 to widen the existing two-lane highway to a four-lane divided highway from Kealakehe Parkway to Keahole Airport Access Road is expected to be substantially complete by August 2018. Remaining work on the project includes milling and resurfacing of north bound lanes, pavement extension of the north bound lanes, paving of south bound lanes south of Kealakehe Parkway, construction of swales and median barrier in the south segment, side road transitions, and installation of signage, pavement markings, and landscaping.
  • Queen Kaahumanu Highway Intersection Improvements at Kawaihae Road
    • Bid in December 2017, work expected to begin April 2018
    • Project will widen the intersection to provide a right-turn lane for northbound Queen Kaahumanu Highway traffic, a right-turn lane for east bound Kawaihae Road traffic, an acceleration lane on Kawaihae Road and lengthening the left-turn lane for west bound Kawaihae Road traffic.
  • Hawaii Island rumble strip projects – HDOT to install rumble strips where possible to provide tactile and audible warning for motorists straying from their lane. Planned rumble strip projects for Hawaii Island are:
    • Kohala Mountain Road Safety Improvements, MP 7.2 to MP 9.2
      • Advertised November 2017
      • Est. Cost $1-5 Million
      • Project will add milled rumble strips to centerline and shoulders, high friction surface treatment, pavement markings, signage, and curve ahead signs and beacons
    • Mamalahoa Highway Safety Improvements, MP 3.9 to MP 6.9
      • Will advertise December 2017
      • Est. Cost $1-5 Million
      • Project will install milled rumble strips in the centerline and shoulders, pavement markings, and signage, and will upgrade guardrails
    • Queen Kaahumanu Highway Rumble Strip Improvements, Mahaiula to Kawaihae
      • Construction to begin January 2018, estimated completion May 2018
      • Work includes installation of centerline rumble strips, new pavement markings and striping to enhance lane visibility and will be conducted in five phases to minimize impact to motorists

Maui County

  • Lahaina Bypass Phase 1B-2
    • This bypass phase from the vicinity of Olowalu landfill to Hokiokio is expected to be opened to traffic in March 2018 at which time HDOT will redirect traffic from the existing Honoapiilani Highway. Those that would like to bypass Lahaina town will have a more efficient route that takes them away from slow moving beach and town traffic. Moving the main route to west Maui Mauka in this area also protects the corridor from coastal erosion and inundation and allows for future capacity if funding develops.
  • Honoapiilani Highway Improvements, Kapunakea to Keawe
    • At Keawe Street, to prioritize the bypass movements, the intersection will be adjusted to allow for a free right turn movement off of the bypass to continue north to Kaanapali. To accommodate this movement, the double through movements going northbound from Kapunakea through Keawe will be reduced to a single through movement. In addition, the Makai side of the road will be widened to allow for a double left for southbound traffic from Kaanapali to enter the bypass.
    • These adjustments were based on the traffic studies performed for the original and follow up environmental documents, and by the updated traffic studies. In general, we anticipate 70 percent of the traffic through the area will utilize the bypass from Olowalu to Keawe Street. Keawe Street is considered an interim connector as the bypass plans include an extension toward Kaanapali. At this time, the highways program does not include sufficient funding to program the next phase of the bypass.

City and County of Honolulu

  • Kalanianaole Highway Resurfacing – Interstate H-1 to West Hind Drive
    • Resurfacing of Kalanianaole Highway from where the route meets the H-1 Freeway to its intersection with West Hind Drive is expected to begin in April 2018. Joining of the bike lane in the vicinity of Kalani High School will take place as part of this project. Conceptual drawings including the proposed locations of staging areas for this project are available.
  • Likelike Highway Resurfacing
    • The Likelike Highway Resurfacing, School Street to Emmeline Place is expected to be substantially complete by March 2018. Remaining work includes guardrail installation, curb and gutter work, catch basin installation, traffic signal work, paving, and installation of striping, landscaping, and signage. Night work for this project will be complete prior to the beginning of night closures for the Pali Highway Street Lighting and Resurfacing – Kamehameha to Waokanaka.
  • Pali Highway Street Lighting and Resurfacing – Kamehameha to Waokanaka
    • This project, the first of the planned Pali Highway improvements, will repair or replace street lights from Vineyard Boulevard to Kamehameha Highway and will repave Pali Highway from Waokanaka Street to Kamehameha Highway—including the parallel Waokanaka Street and the Pali Highway/Waokanaka Street intersection—and is estimated to be completed in Winter 2019. More information, including the project schedule and a 24/7 hotline number, can be found at palihighway.org
  • H-1 Additional Eastbound Lane from Waiawa to Halawa
    • HDOT is undergoing the procurement process for this design-build project to rehabilitate the concrete pavement from the vicinity of the Waimalu Viaduct to Halawa and anticipates award of the project to Design-Build Team in January 2018 with notice to proceed following in April 2018. The rehabilitation of the asphalt concrete in this area will widen the current 10-foot shoulder with a 24-foot wide eastbound shoulder that could be used for unrestricted vehicular traffic.
  • H-201/H-1 Additional Westbound Lane: Halawa Interchange to Aiea Pedestrian Overpass
    • Work on the project to repave the H-201 west bound Halawa offramp to the H-1 west bound at the Aiea Pedestrian Overpass began in August following the completion of the Kahekili Highway resurfacing from Hui Iwa Street to Haiku Road and is expected to be completed at the end of the year. This project also creates a third west bound lane to the H-1 through grading, reconstruction of the shoulders, and relocation of guardrails.
  • Kipapa Stream Bridge (Roosevelt) Rehabilitation
    • The partnership project with the Federal Highway Administration – Central Federal Lands Highway Division to rehabilitate the Kipapa Stream Bridge, a 484-foot long bridge built in 1933, is estimated to be completed at the end of May 2018. To complete the bridge rehabilitation, which includes the widening of the bridge to provide a 7-foot mixed use shoulder, requires four more full weekend closures of Kamehameha Highway between Ka Uka Boulevard and Lanikuhana Avenue between January and April. Notification of the closures will go out as they are scheduled.
  • Farrington Highway Safety improvements/Nanakuli contraflow
    • Crews are working day and night to complete the Farrington Highway Intersection Improvements (turning lane) project by the end of the year. The Nanakuli Contraflow will run to the end of this project, which will improve traffic flow on Farrington Highway through the addition of a fifth turning lane at Nanakuli Avenue and Haleakala Avenue. If operational funds are available past the completion of the project, HDOT will consider extending the operation of the Nanakuli Contraflow with modifications to ensure the return of two eastbound lanes in the area.
    • HDOT has been working with the community on safety improvements to coincide with resurfacing projects on Farrington Highway. The ongoing and upcoming Farrington Highway resurfacing projects are:
    • FARRINGTON HIGHWAY RESURFACING, VICINITY OF KILI DRIVE TO SATELLITE TRACKING STATION ROAD
      • Estimated Completion Date: Spring 2017
    • FARRINGTON HIGHWAY RESURFACING, KAHE POWER PLANT TO HAKIMO ROAD, IB & OB
      • Scheduled Advertise Date: 12/2017
    • FARRINGTON HIGHWAY RESURFACING, HAKIMO ROAD TO KILI DRIVE, IB & OB
      • Scheduled Advertise Date: 04/2018

Kauai County

  • Kuhio Highway Resurfacing Kapule Highway to North Leho Drive, Phase 1
    • Project will reconstruct in areas, cold plane, and resurface pavement as well as install channelizing curb and delineators. Project was advertised earlier this month.
  • Kuhio Highway Short Term Improvements
    • This project, currently planned to advertise in June 2018, would widen the south bound 0.64 mile stretch of Kuhio Highway between the Temporary Kapaa Bypass Road and Kuamoo Road from three to four lanes and would extend the existing right-turn storage lane along Kuamoo Road Mauka from its intersection with Kuhio Highway. The widening of this stretch of highway is expected to improve access to Wailua and Kapaa.

Highways project status can be found at any time on the Highways Program Status Map, which was featured at the news conference. This ESRI-powered map highlights current and upcoming construction projects on state highways as well as data on traffic volumes, traffic fatalities, and road conditions.

Data on the state’s 782 bridges will be added to the Highways Program Status Map at the end of the year with construction lane closure information to follow shortly. HDOT also plans to introduce a crowd sourcing app in Spring 2018 that will allow community members to report road issues such as potholes and street lighting outages.

Waianuenue Ave. Restriping – Traffic Markings Changing

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works Traffic Division will be restriping Waiānuenue Ave. from Kamehameha Ave. to Ka‘iulani St. Work is scheduled between the hours of 8:30 AM and 3:00 PM from Wednesday, December 13, 2017, and is expected to be completed by Friday, December 22, 2017, weather and construction conditions permitting. No roadwork will occur on the weekend.

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 and at a minimum, one lane of travel (for two way traffic) will be provided at all times through the construction area. Special off-duty police officers will be posted in the area to facilitate traffic movement.

There will also be some changes to the previous traffic markings/patterns between Kekaulike St. and Ka‘iulani St. The approach to Kino‘ole St. going in the mauka direction, will have a left turn only lane and a thru only lane as opposed to the current left/thru lane and a thru lane. Also from Kino’ole St. to Kapi’olani St., a two-way left turn lane will be installed and replace the current striped islands. All parking (8 stalls) will be removed from the roadway on the Hamakua Side of Waiānuenue Ave. between Kapi‘olani St. and Ka‘iulani St.

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.

Get on Board Initiative Saves State Approximately $13 Million

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) and TransPar have saved the state approximately $13 million annually through the Get on Board student transportation initiative.

Photo Credit: Department of Education

From 2013 to 2017, Hawaii public schools’ student bus transportation system underwent a comprehensive transformation, including the development of new procurement methods and contract models. Another key milestone for the four-year project involved incorporating new technology and the implementation of computerized routing software, GPS mapping and tracking, and the addition of video cameras to all school buses.

“We’ve successfully revamped our school bus transportation system during the four-year pilot program by using industry best practices to deliver economical, efficient and effective student transportation services,” said Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson. “Through this pilot program, we’ve substantially reduced the annual cost of public school bus transportation services statewide by approximately $13 million.”

What started as a pilot project for 32 Central Oahu schools in 2013, has now grown and expanded statewide. During Phase 2, the program provided student bus transportation to all schools on Oahu, the Big Island and Molokai. Earlier this year, HIDOE successfully implemented the final phase of its Get on Board initiative with the awarding of new contracts on Maui and Kauai for the 2017-18 school year.

Now that the rollout has been completed, HIDOE and TransPar are focused on establishing the systems and process that support continuous improvement and sustainability. By using the technology acquired and process improvements implemented in the Get on Board initiative, the most efficient level of service continues to be provided to students.

“Despite the unexpected bus driver shortage that our bus contractors faced in August 2017, we worked with the schools and contractors to restore bus service as quickly as we could,” said Carlson. “As we look ahead and plan for the future, we’ll continue to assess the system on a daily basis, and improve service, safety and efficiency with TransPar’s guidance. We’re also exploring new ways to make our bus transportation system easier for students and their parents.”

For more information about Get on Board, please click here.

Island Air to Discontinue Service on Nov. 11

Island Air photo.

Hawaii Island Air (Island Air) announced on Thursday, Nov. 9, that it will be closing operations as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.

As a result of this announcement, all Island Air passengers must make alternative arrangements for interisland transportation, effective this Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.

Earlier this month, Island Air was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (see link below) in an effort to continue operations following threats of legal action by the lessors of Island Air’s aircraft to ground and repossess the company’s fleet.

Island Air was unable to locate a new investor or lender to provide funding to support airline flight operations and a successful reorganization.

One of the difficulties of attracting new investors was the aggressive legal attacks by Lessors Wells Fargo Bank Northwest, N.A. and Elix 8 Ltd. Although Lessors’ Motion for Temporary Restraining Order was denied by Judge Robert Faris of the District of Hawai‘i Bankruptcy Court on Friday, November 3, Lessors continued to engage in multi-directional legal attacks which Island Air could no longer combat without additional financing. The aircraft lessors were seeking termination of all leases and immediate repossession of all aircraft.

“Island Air has taken every measure possible to avoid this tremendous hardship to its passengers,” said David Uchiyama, Island Air president and CEO. “Island Air appreciates the loyalty and support its customers, management, employees, and vendors have shown the airline, especially during the last few weeks of this bankruptcy process. Island Air is proud of its 37-year history of service to the State of Hawai‘i.”

 

“I want to thank Island Air for its decades of service to our communities,” said Gov. David Ige. “For 37 years the company and its employees have played a big role in connecting island families and supporting our business community. The closure will have a tremendous effect on 400 employees and their families, and the state will be working with Island Air to help the employees apply for unemployment insurance and provide assistance with job searches and training opportunities.”

RELATED LINK
Island Air Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

HDOT Statement on President Trump’s Motorcade Movements

Due to security protocols, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is not provided advance information regarding the President’s specific travel plans, times and routes. We will release any sharable information with the public as soon as possible. During previous presidential visits, the Secret Service has directed intermittent closures in both directions of the traveled roadway, in addition to closing onramps, overpasses and underpasses on the route.

Temporary Flight Restrictions are also in place.

Publicly available information suggests that presidential motorcade movements may result in delays on the following routes; however, motorists are encouraged to account for extra travel time Friday between 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • 2-3 p.m. Eastbound closures from Pearl Harbor to Waikiki
  • 4-5 p.m. Westbound closures from Waikiki to Pearl Harbor
  • 7-8 p.m. Eastbound closures from Pearl Harbor to Waikiki

HDOT will extend Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) hours to 8 p.m. Friday to assist any motorists in their service area of the H-1 Freeway between Kunia to Ainakoa Avenue, the H-201 Moanalua Freeway, and the H-2 Freeway from the H-1/H-2 interchange to Ka Uka Boulevard. Motorists needing emergency roadside assistance should call 841-HELP (4357). More information on FSP is available at www.fsphawaii.com

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.

Coast Guard Responding to Downed Helicopter Off Molokai

Coast Guard and Navy crews are responding to a report of a downed helicopter with two people aboard off the northwest side of Molokai, Monday evening.

Responding are:

  • HC-130 Hercules airplane and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point.
  • U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ahi (WPB 87364), homeported in Honolulu, is en route.
  • MH-60R Seahawk helicopter aircrew from Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37.

Aircrews located debris along with chemlights in the water.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Response Coordination Center received a call from the Honolulu International Airport control tower at 7:26 p.m., reporting they had lost communications with a privately owned Robinson R44 helicopter with two people aboard.

The helicopter was reported to have left Honolulu today on a day trip to Molokai and was on its way back.

Weather on scene is currently 30 mph winds out of the northeast with 12 to 15-foot seas.

Island Air Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection to Fend Off Action by Aircraft Lessors

Interisland Air Service to Continue as Normal; All Tickets and Confirmed Reservations to be Honored

Hawaii Island Air, Inc. (Island Air) announced today it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an effort to continue normal operations while navigating through legal challenges recently presented by the lessors of its aircraft. The bankruptcy filing was caused by threats of legal action to ground the aircraft and strand hundreds of passengers. The filing prevents the threatened action and allows Island Air to continue interisland service for its customers.

During the reorganization process, Island Air expects to fly its scheduled routes as normal and honor all previously purchased tickets and confirmed reservations. In addition, there will be no changes to the Island Miles frequent flyer and other customer service programs, including Kupuna & Keiki Saver Fare, Island Biz corporate travel program, and military and group travel programs.

On October 12, 2017, while in the process of negotiating its aircraft leases with its lessors, Island Air was very surprised that the lessors served them with notices of termination of the leases and demands to surrender its airplanes.

Prioritizing its customers, employees and the communities it serves, Island Air made the difficult decision to file for bankruptcy protection. Continuing to operate under the protection of the United States Bankruptcy Court will allow Island Air to maintain its service to its customers, provide continued employment to its more than 400 valued employees, and ensure a revenue stream so its vendors are paid.

“Island Air will continue to hold our customers and employees, as well as our invaluable vendors, as our main priorities during this reorganization process,” said David Uchiyama, Island Air president and CEO. “Once we have completed the reorganization process, Island Air expects to emerge as a stronger airline with a solid financial structure that will allow us to continue to meet the demands of Hawai‘i’s dynamic interisland market, while positioning us for future growth and expansion.”

As with all companies experiencing a growth in demand, there is an adjustment period. Island Air narrowed its 2017 first quarter loss while revenue continued to rise, making this the airline’s highest quarterly revenue since before 2013 when Island Air was required to begin reporting its financial data to the DOT due to the size of its aircraft. In the second quarter of 2017, the airline earned $12.5 million in revenues, its highest quarterly revenue in more than a decade. In the first quarter of 2017, Island Air flew 172,200 passengers (over double the previous quarter’s figure of 75,102). Additionally, Island Air has increased marketing in North America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

In January 2016, Hawai‘i-based investment company PacifiCap acquired controlling interest in Island Air from Ohana Airline Holdings, LLC (OAH), which is wholly owned by Oracle corporation founder Larry Ellison. Since that time the airline has been focused on improving operations, increasing efficiencies and elevating service to customers. This has included strategic investments in equipment and supplies, including upgrading its aircraft fleet, as well as expanding training and resources for employees. In addition, Island Air is currently modernizing its information technology system, which when fully implemented will enhance online reservation and bookings, expand digital services and improve interface with codeshare and interline airline partners.

Founded in 1980 as Princeville Airways, the company was renamed Island Air in 1992 and has been serving the Islands of Hawai‘i for 37 years. Island Air currently offers approximately 200 flights each week between O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island, and employs more than 400 individuals throughout the State of Hawai‘i.

Bayfront Highway Still Closed

As of 10:30 today, Bayfront Highway remains closed between Pauahi Street and Waianuenue Avenue due to high waves washing debris on highway.

Use Kamehameha Avenue as an alternate route.

Saddle Road Fatality

A 49-year old Hilo man died following a 2 vehicle crash Saturday morning (October 14), in the district of Hāmākua.

His name is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of his family.

Responding to a 7:21 a.m. call, police determined that a 2001 Dodge Caravan was traveling westbound on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road), near the 38-mile marker when he was overtaking vehicles and struck a 2015 Honda Fit that was traveling eastbound.

The man who died was taken to the North Hawaii Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8:42 a.m.

The driver of the Honda, a 36-year old female of Mountain View, was also transported to the North Hawaii Community Hospital for her injuries and was listed in critical condition.

Police believe that speed was a factor and the man was not wearing a seatbelt. The female was wearing a seatbelt.

Police do not believe that drugs or alcohol were factors in this crash.

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

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Casey Cabral at (808) 961-2329. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.

This is the 27th traffic fatality this year compared with 23 at this time last year.

Saddle Road Now Open in Both Directions

This is a Civil Defense Road Closure Message for Saturday, October 14 at Noon.

Hawaii Police Department reports the Daniel K. Inouye Highway/Saddle Road is now open in both directions.

Thank you. Have a safe day. This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Saddle Road Closed in Both Directions Due to Accident

This is a Civil Defense Road Closure Update for Saturday, October 14 at 9:30 AM.

Hawaii Police Department reports the Daniel K. Inouye Highway/Saddle Road is closed in both directions due to a traffic collision.

Motorists will be able to drive up to the 9 mile marker above Hilo, and up to the Waiki’i entrance above Waimea. Please use alternate routes.

Have a safe day. This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Commentary – Saddle Road Improvements Will Pay Dividends for Years to Come

The Hawaii Department of Transportation and the Central Federal Lands
Highway Division recently dedicated the east side Saddle Road phase.

Former Kona Blog Owner Aaron Stene has followed this project through numerous administrations and probably knows more about this project than most of the folks that actually constructed the road.

This new highway is a huge improvement over the old roadway that meandered through upper Kaumana. The latter had a lot of safety deficiencies and didn’t meet modern highway standards.

The new highway between m.m 5.67 and m.m 11.71 meets all modern highway standards, and completes a critical thoroughfare linking West and East Hawaii.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation, Central Federal Lands Highway
Division, and their contractor, Road and Highway Builders LLC have a lot of to be proud of. They were able to deliver a modern highway on time, under budget, and were able to fulfill late Senator Dan Inouye’s’ vision. In addition, the CFLHD did a great job informing the public of project updates on a monthly basis during the construction phase.

The CFLHD project engineer, who oversaw this final phase, was always available if I had any specific project related questions. Other ongoing highway projects on this island should take a cue from the CFLHD’s efforts to keep the public informed about this particular project.

The core Saddle Road improvement project is now finished with the completion of this final phase. However, I hope the HDOT and CFLHD proceed with the Saddle Road extension, which will extend Saddle Road to Queen Kaahumanu Highway in West Hawaii.

It took roughly 13 years, and over 300 million dollars, to reconstruct, and realign, about 45 miles of Saddle Road, but it was totally worth all the effort and time. This improved highway will be paying dividends for this island for years to come.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Ali’i Drive in Kona Shuts Down for the Weekend – Ironman is Here

HPD Police Traffic Advisory:
Ali’i Drive by Likana Lane to King Kamehameha Hotel, Kailua, Kona, from 8:00am today until Sunday 10-15-17 at 2:00 pm.

Progress Update on School Bus Driver Shortages on Maui and Kauai

Two consolidated bus routes on Maui were reinstated and more anticipated in coming weeks. Photo DOE

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) reports that progress is being made by school bus contractors to address the current shortage of Commercial Driver Licensed (CDL) drivers on Maui and Kauai qualified to operate school buses. Here are the latest updates:

  • Two previously consolidated bus routes on Maui have been restored to normal service times at Maui High School and Maui Waena Intermediate School.
    • Route GR14A makes a single morning and afternoon run from the Hale Kihei Housing and Makai Heights Subdivisions in Kihei to and from Maui High School.
    • Route GR18 A/B makes two morning and afternoon runs to and from Maui Waena Intermediate School. The first serves the Kahului area east of Puunene Avenue from Puukani Street to Kaahumanu Avenue, and north of West Kauai Street to Kaahumanu Avenue. The second run serves the Sands Hills, Puuone Tract, Kanaloa Houselots Subdivision and Paukukalo areas.
  • Kauai’s shortage of qualified school bus drivers continues to remain at seven. School bus routes have been consolidated to adjust to the staffing shortages and all schools are still being serviced. Driver candidates are currently in the licensing process and routes will be restored as they enter service.
  • Interested CDL drivers should contact the Student Transportation Services Branch at (808) 586-0170. Interested drivers without a CDL are also being sought. The CDL training and testing process is open and takes approximately three weeks to complete.

For school bus route questions or concerns, please call the Get On Board Hotline at (808) 586-0161 on Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Traffic Alert – Avoid Bayfront Highway Due to High Waves Washing Debris on Road

AVOID the Bayfront Highway between Pauahi Street and Waianuenue Avenue due to high waves washing debris on highway.

An assessment will be made in the morning by Civil Defense on the status of the closure.

Use Kamehameha Avenue as an alternate route.

Pacific Aviation Museum Providing Free STEM Program to Hawaii Island Schools

The FREE STEM outreach education program, allowing students to explore science through flight, will be presented to 6th graders in Hilo, Pahoa and Pahala.

More than 500 sixth graders on Hawaii Island will learn about the science behind aviation when members of Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s Barnstorming Program travel to Hawaii Island for the first time, October 16-27, 2017. The term “barnstorming” refers to a style of stunt piloting that was performed in the 1920’s to showcase pilots’ skills and the sturdiness of the planes they flew.

Barnstorming photos of a previous session at Benjamin Parker Elementary School on Oahu. Photo credit: Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

Pacific Aviation Museum’s Barnstorming Program was developed in 2008 by staff at the Museum in collaboration with educators and science advisors from University of Hawaii at Manoa, and since its inception, has reached over 26,000 sixth graders in their classrooms on Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. The 90-minute curriculum is aligned to the Hawaii State Content Standards for Grade 6, and uses:

  • Table-top experiments where students are introduced to the two most important concepts in the science of aviation – Newton’s Third Law of Motion and Bernoulli’s Principle;
  • A portable wind tunnel that allows students to manipulate an airfoil inside a working wind tunnel via remote control. Students see the effects that airflow have on a wing, and how different velocities of the airstream can change a wing’s reaction to their controller inputs. Students discover how scientists and engineers use wind tunnels to design and test objects people use daily, from aircraft and cars, to homes; and
  • A P-40 flight simulator that serves as the culmination of the Barnstorming experience, where after learning the basic concepts through table-top experiments and the wind tunnel, students take the controls of a flying machine. The flight simulator allows students to operate the control surfaces (rudder, elevators and ailerons) that they learned about in the initial presentation, and decide what stick or pedal inputs they will need to obtain their desired movements. Student aviators fly the P-40 through several scenarios, including takeoff, landing, basic control familiarization, as well as pursuit and dogfight maneuvers.

Costs incurred to bring the program and equipment to Hawaii Island is being underwritten by a $5,000 grant from Boeing.

“Aviation plays such an important role in our everyday lives, from an economic and social point of view, to protecting our nation from harm,” said Shauna Tonkin, Director of Education, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor. “Our Barnstorming Program is designed to incorporate all elements of science, technology, engineering and mathematics through interesting and hands-on activities that not only help students understand the scientific principles of flight, but also introduces aviation and aeronautical engineering as a viable career. We hope to continue taking this program on the road to students throughout Hawaii. Our ability to do this is based on the generous support we receive from businesses and foundations, such as Boeing.”

Beginning October 16, Pacific Aviation Museum will bring its Barnstorming program to the following schools:

October 16: Ernest Bowen DeSilva Elementary, Hilo
October 17-19: Waiakea Intermediate, Hilo
October 20: Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science, Pahoa
October 23: Ka’u High & Pahala Elementary, Pahala
October 24: Pahoa Intermediate, Pahoa
October 25-27: Waiakea Intermediate, Hilo

On the evening of October 23, Pacific Aviation Museum will also host a free community outreach event at Ka’u High & Pahala Elementary School called Discover Your Future in Aviation (DYFA). Mirrored after the Museum’s annual DYFA on Oahu, the event is designed as an interactive fair that provides youth with information and resources related to the aviation and aerospace industries.

With a special emphasis on young women and underserved populations, DYFA’s goal is to generate interest and present STEM career opportunities by having exhibitors in the field of aerospace and aviation at the event, coupled with interactive STEM-related activities. The event will also feature keynote speaker Z. Nagin Cox, a NASA Mars Rover engineer who has held leadership and system engineering positions on interplanetary robotic missions including the Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Mars Exploration Rovers, the Kepler exoplanet hunter, InSight, and the Mars Curiosity Rover. In 2015, Asteroid 14061 was named after her by its discoverers.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. Its mission is to develop and maintain an internationally recognized aviation museum on Historic Ford Island that educates young and old alike, honors aviators and their support personnel who defended freedom in The Pacific Region, and to preserve Pacific aviation history.