Passenger Arrivals By Air Tank On First Day of Quarantine

On Thursday, March 26, 2020, 1,589 passengers arrived in Hawaii on the first day of the state’s 14-day mandatory self-quarantine for all incoming passengers.

Of that number, 268 people were visitors, and most of them were either crew members or returning residents.

In comparison, last year at the end of March, more than 30,000 passengers arrived in Hawaii daily, including residents and visitors.

This table details the number of people who arrived by air on March 26th:

* HNL (Honolulu, Oahu), OGG (Kahului, Maui), KOA (Kona, Hawaii Island), LIH (Lihue, Kauai)

Driving Credentials & COVID-19 Emergency Orders

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Highways Division announces the following changes to its vehicle licensing and safety check programs as part of the effort to reduce face-to-face interactions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Driver’s Licenses and State IDs

  • The state is invoking a 90-day waiver on all expired driver’s licenses and State identification cards. If your driver’s license or State ID expires between March 23 and May 15, your credentials will be considered valid in the State of Hawaii for an additional 90-days.
  • In coordination with the county driver’s licensing centers, HDOT has suspended all in-person driver’s license transactions and in-vehicle testing. There are limited non-in-person driver’s license services available such as online ordering of duplicates currently offered by the City and County of Honolulu for eligible residents, and mail-in duplicates and renewals offered by all counties. Please visit the county’s website or contact the county that issued your driver’s license or state ID for instructions on using their mail-in services.
  • The 90-day waiver for driver’s licenses also applies to Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders. Additionally, HDOT is allowing extension of the Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC) and hazardous materials endorsement expiration for motor carriers through the period of the Governor’s emergency proclamation which began March 4 and was extended to May 15.
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is accepting expired driver’s licenses or State IDs that expired on or after March 1 for use at TSA checkpoints. See https://www.tsa.gov/coronavirus for more information.
  • On March 23, President Donald Trump announced that the Oct. 1, 2020 REAL ID deadline would be extended. The new deadline has yet to be announced.

Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection (Safety Check)

The annual safety check requirement is suspended, and no safety checks will be done through the month of April. If your safety check is expired, it will remain valid through May 31. Also, you may renew your vehicle registration online or with your expired safety check certificate during this grace period.

Vehicle Registration

Vehicle registrations may still be done online or by mail even though your safety check may have expired. Not all counties allow online renewals after your registration submission deadline. Please check your county’s website or contact your county office for further information.

City and County of Honolulu

http://www.honolulu.gov/csd

County of Maui

https://www.mauicounty.gov/1328/Motor-Vehicle-Licensing

County of Hawaii

https://www.hawaiicounty.gov/departments/finance/vehicle-registration-licensing

County of Kauai

http://www.kauai.gov/Portals/0/Mayor/PIO/NR032320FD.pdf?ver=2020-03-23-100938-193

HDOT thanks the counties and the community for their social distancing efforts.

Hawaiian Consolidating Check-in Operations at HNL

Hawaiian Airlines is temporarily centralizing its entire check-in operations at Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) to Lobbies 2 and 3 in Terminal 1 beginning March 20.

Effective tomorrow, guests checking in for Hawaiian’s international flights will use Lobby 3, while guests on North America and Neighbor Island flights will check-in at Lobby 2.

The airline, which has been using Lobby 4 at Terminal 2 to check-in travelers to Japan, is temporarily vacating that space as it adjusts operations in response to declining travel demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We appreciate our guests’ patience and understanding as we navigate this extremely dynamic situation,” said Jeff Helfrick, vice president of airport operations at Hawaiian Airlines. “Consolidating our check-in operations allows us to continue offering the best guest experience to our guests while we adjust our network in the near term.”

Road signage reflecting the changes will be in place Friday morning.   

To ensure the health and safety of employees and guests, hand sanitizers have been made more broadly available throughout Hawaiian’s airport lobbies and offices. Self-service check-in kiosks and check-in counters are frequently cleaned and disinfected, and Hawaiian has partnered with the Hawaii State Department of Transportation to ensure hand sanitizers are readily available to travelers throughout HNL and at its airports statewide. Please visit https://www.hawaiianairlines.com/coronavirus to learn more.

Global Level 4 Health Advisory: DO NOT TRAVEL

This is a U.S. Department of State Advisory

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.  U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel. 

Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.  Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips.  If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.

On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure of U.S. personnel and family members from any diplomatic or consular post in the world who have determined they are at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19 or who have requested departure based on a commensurate justification.  These departures may limit the ability of U.S. Embassies and consulates to provide services to U.S. citizens.

For the latest information regarding COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website.

You are encouraged to visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security. Please also visit the website of the relevant U.S. embassy or consulate to see information on entry restrictions, foreign quarantine policies, and urgent health information provided by local governments.

Travelers are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. The Department uses these Alerts to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc. In an emergency, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate or call the following numbers: 1(888) 407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1 (202) 501-4444 from other countries or jurisdictions.

If you decide to travel abroad or are already outside the United States:

Grounded Sailing Vessel Removed From Rocks off Hilo

The grounded, 63-foot fishing vessel Midway Island, was successfully moved from the rocks to Pier 2 within Hilo Harbor, Tuesday.

The grounded, 63-foot fishing vessel, Midway Island, being successfully removed from Hilo Harbor, March 17, 2020. The State of Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources will assume the lead as the coordinating agency to work with the owner of the Midway Island. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo/Released)

Wednesday, Coast Guard contractors worked to stabilize the vessel, deploy preventative adsorbent boom around the vessel, and mitigate any remaining petroleum. The vessel is now stabilized and preventatively boomed at Pier 2 in Hilo Harbor.

“We are lucky to have strong partnerships with the industry, State, and the local community,” said Chief Warrant Officer Russ Strathern, marine safety specialist, Sector Honolulu. “This complex incident involved a lot of coordination, communication, and patience, as we leveraged multiple strategies to mitigate the environmental threat. I am thankful for our response ohana.”

(U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo/Released)

The State of Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources will assume the lead as the coordinating agency to work with the owner of the Midway Island for vessel disposition and to conduct a cleanup of the grounding site as the pollution threat has been removed. The State will assess environmental damages and facilitate the future steps of mitigating impacts and vessel disposition.

Reportedly, 1,585 gallons of petroleum products, including marine diesel, lube, and hydraulic oil, and oily waste, were safely removed along with the batteries and household cleaners prior to refloating and towing operations began.

(U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo/Released)

The U.S.-flagged vessel grounded Feb. 3, and the Coast Guard continuously worked with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and other partners to safely move the boat and mitigate pollution aboard. The environmental impact was minimal, and there is no evidence of pollution discharge as a result of the grounding. 

Midway Island was transiting from Los Angeles to Hawaii at the time of the grounding. The cause remains under investigation.

Cruise Ships to Refuel & Restock in Honolulu

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Harbors Division is preparing to accept two cruise ship arrivals at Honolulu Harbor in order for the vessels to refuel and restock on food and supplies. However, passengers will not be allowed to leave the ship. All cruise ships are on a 30-day pause in operations that took effect March 14, 2020. At the time of the directive pausing operations, these two ships, the Maasdam operated by Holland American Line and the Norwegian Jewel operated by Norwegian Cruise Line, were already at sea.

“The health and safety of all people in Hawaii is always at the forefront of operational decisions. Presently, all state resources are focused and directed towards containing the spread of COVID-19. Allowing more than 2,500 passengers and crew to disembark will further strain these resources,” said Director Jade Butay, Hawaii Department of Transportation. “HDOT and the State are allowing the ships to dock at Honolulu Harbor so they may refuel and restock. Neither ship had originally planned to make Hawaii its final port and both will carry on to mainland destinations, where more resources can be marshalled to handle the passengers and crew properly.”

On Tuesday, the Governor announced the State’s 15 Days to Slow the Spread effort. As part of this announcement, he directed visitors to consider postponing their travel to Hawaii for at least 30 days. Pursuant to the Governor’s announcement, HDOT made the decision to deny the two requests to allow passengers and crew to disembark.

The Maasdam is scheduled to arrive at Honolulu Harbor Pier 2 on Friday, March 20. It is scheduled to depart the following day. There are approximately 850 passengers onboard.

The Norwegian Jewel is scheduled to arrive Sunday, March 22. It has approximately 1,700 passengers on board.

There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on either ship.

There are 16 cruise ships that have canceled scheduled visits to Hawaii during the 30 day suspension in operations. For information regarding the Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) directive please click here.

For additional transportation related information and resources please visit the HDOT COVID-19 webpage by clicking here.

HDOT Prepares for COVID-19 Concerns

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Highways Division is taking the following actions to manage Covid-19 concerns.

  • Permits for events such as races or rides on the State Highways system through April will be withdrawn.
  • Public meetings such as the Aina meetings for the Farrington Highway Corridor Study will be postponed. Community members are encouraged to visit https://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/farringtoncorridorstudy/ to submit comments.
  • Preparing to move in-person services such as permit applications online. A separate news release with details will be sent out when these services are available.

HDOT Highways Division is committed to continue to provide essential services such as road maintenance. Should Covid-19 concerns impact staffing and other needed resources, HDOT is prepared to contract out for these services.

Response to Grounded Vessel Off Honolulu Continues

Responders continue work, Friday, to remove potential pollutants from the 79-foot fishing vessel Pacific Paradise currently aground off Honolulu, prior to the onset of larger swells and surf.

Responders continue work, Oct. 12, 2017, to remove potential pollutants from the 79-foot fishing vessel Pacific Paradise currently aground off Honolulu, prior to the onset of larger swells and surf. The salvage team are surveying and rigging the vessel for tow to take advantage of favorable tides after removing about two thirds of the the fuel aboard. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

“We are working diligently with the salvage team and our partners to ensure a safe and deliberate response,” said Capt. Michael Long, commander, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “The safety of the public and the environment remain our top priority. We have removed about two-thirds of the fuel aboard significantly reducing the pollution threat. Due to the tides and incoming weather we have transitioned to the towing evolution to take advantage of our best window for removal of the vessel prior to the arrival of stronger winds, surf and swells this weekend.”

The salvage team are surveying and rigging the vessel for tow to take advantage of favorable tides.

Roughly 3,000 gallons of fuel was removed by the salvage team before operations were suspended Thursday. Approximately 1,500 gallons remain.

Further assessment by the salvage team Thursday revealed the initial amount of fuel aboard to be 4,500 total gallons of diesel, less than previously reported. No pollution has been sighted in the water or on shore.

A safety zone remains in effect around the vessel extending out 500 yards in all directions from position 21-15.69N 157-49.49W. The public is asked to remain clear of the safety zone to prevent injury or impact to operations.

Partners in the effort include personnel in several divisions of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response, the responsible party, commercial salvors and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Weather conditions in the vicinity of the vessel are 11 mph with waves of up to 3 feet with a long south southwest swell. Rain showers are possible. These conditions are expected to degrade through the weekend. Weather for Oahu is forecast as 25 mph winds with wind waves to 6 feet, but the vessel is somewhat sheltered from the wind by Diamond Head as it’s on the south shore of Oahu.

The Pacific Paradise is a U.S.-flagged vessel and part of the Hawaii longline fleet homeported in Honolulu. Coast Guard response and Honolulu Fire Department crews rescued the master and 19 fishermen from the vessel late Tuesday night following reports that the vessel grounded off Diamond Head near Kaimana Beach. The cause of the grounding is under investigation.

Hawaii Department of Transportation Director Ford Fuchigami Joins Office of the Governor

Hawai‘i Department of Transportation Director Ford Fuchigami will join the Office of the Governor as the Administrative Director, beginning Nov. 1, 2017.

Ford Fuchigami

His role will include coordinating essential business and discussions between the state and various industries, serving as the lead liaison between the governor’s office, state departments and their directors, and administering management improvement programs. Fuchigami will also work with Chief of Staff Mike McCartney and serve as a key contributing member of the governor’s leadership team

“Ford has repeatedly proven his incredible ability to generate innovative ideas, implement plans and see them through to successful completion,” said Gov. David Ige. “His ability to negotiate the successful Kapalama Container Terminal project and accommodate an additional major player into Hawai‘i’s shipping industry is just one recent example of his impressive leadership skills.”

“Ford has been able to successfully manage a wide range of situations – whether it’s negotiating with billion dollar companies or listening to the concerns of our citizens. He will bring to the governor’s office his strengths and keen ability to enhance efficiencies throughout our state,” Gov. Ige said.

“In my years with HDOT, we have achieved many impactful accomplishments across all divisions. The department’s success has been in large part because of the collaboration and support from various individuals and organizations,” said Fuchigami. “I look forward to working with all departments and helping to improve the governmental process.”

Fuchigami joined HDOT in January 2011. He has focused on maximizing existing infrastructure while prioritizing sustainability and making the state more energy efficient. He previously served as an executive in the hospitality industry.

Gov. Ige has appointed HDOT Deputy Director Jade Butay as interim HDOT director, leading 15 airports, 10 commercial harbors, 2,500 lane miles of highway and HDOT’s 2,600 dedicated employees.

Jade Butay

Butay’s appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

BIOGRAPHIES:

1% Transient Accommodations Tax Increase Takes Effect January 1, 2018

Please be advised that, effective January 1, 2018, the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) applied to lodging accommodations in the State of Hawaii will be increased by 1%, raising the TAT from its current rate of 9.25% to 10.25%. This increase is scheduled to stay in effect until December 31, 2030.

The TAT increase is being put into effect to help pay for Honolulu’s rapid transit system that is currently under construction. The light metro rail system will extend 20 miles from Kapolei in Leeward Oahu to Ala Moana Center in Honolulu with 21 stations along the way, including the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, the State of Hawaii’s main port of entry for air transportation.

Following is a summary of State taxes that will be applied by lodging properties statewide when the 1% TAT increase takes effect on January 1, 2018:

Oahu
4.712%: General Excise Tax
10.25%: Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT)
14.962%: TOTAL Lodging Taxes

Maui County / Island of Hawaii / Kauai
4.166%: General Excise Tax
10.25%: Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT)
14.416%: TOTAL Lodging Taxes

Click here to see the notice issued by the Hawaii State Department of Taxation providing detailed information about the changes in State law that applies to the 1% TAT increase.

Any questions regarding the implementation of the 1% TAT increase should be directed to the Hawaii State Department of Taxation via email at Tax.Rules.Office@hawaii.gov or by calling 808-587-1530.

Senator Hirono Attends Dedication of Daniel K. Inouye Highway New Phase Completion

Senator Mazie K. Hirono yesterday dedicated a new phase of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, formerly known as Saddle Road.

Mayor Harry Kim and Senator Mazie Hirono at the Saddle Road dedication.

Yesterday’s ceremony marked the completion of the Saddle Road Improvement Project. Construction on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway began in 2004, and the project’s completion creates the shortest route between East and West Hawaii Island.  (*Editors Note… the project will be extended all the way down to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway)

“This project has been in the making for decades, and it’s only through coordination between federal, state, and local governments, and the Hawaii Island community that we were able to complete the Daniel K. Inouye Highway,” said Senator Hirono. “Saddle Road was one of the most dangerous roads in the state, but now we have a roadway that will reduce accidents, save lives, and fulfill Senator Inouye’s vision to connect East and West Hawaii.”

Coast Guard, HFD Rescue 20 Fishermen From Aground Vessel Off Honolulu

Twenty fishermen were transported to shore from an aground vessel less than a half mile off Honolulu early Wednesday morning.

 

Honolulu Fire Department Jet Ski crews transported fishermen from the vessel to a Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium for further transport to awaiting emergency responders at Ala Wai Harbor. A Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter crew hoisted two of the fishermen and the master of the vessel and transported them to Honolulu airport.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received three reports of the 79-foot commercial fishing vessel Pacific Paradise grounded off Diamond Head near the Outrigger Canoe Club Channel Tuesday night. They responded by directing the launch of response assets.

The RB-M crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu arrived on scene at 11:48 p.m. Tuesday followed by an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point at midnight. HFD Jet Ski, boat and shore crews also arrived on scene.The Pacific Paradise is homeported in Honolulu and the vessel’s last port of call was American Samoa. No injuries were reported.

The vessel is carrying a maximum of 13,000 gallons of diesel as well as assorted lube and hydraulic oils. No pollution has been reported. Further evaluation will be done after first light.

The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the grounding. Responders will work with the owner to assess damage and develop a salvage plan.

Weather at the time of the incident was reportedly winds at 11 mph, seas 1-foot or less with partly cloudy skies.

New Phase of Daniel K. Inouye Highway Opens

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are pleased to announce the opening of the final phase of reconstruction on the east side of Saddle Road, now known as the Daniel K. Inouye Highway. The improvement connects the existing highway near milepost 11 to the west end of the Puainako Street extension.

“The importance of the combined Saddle Road Improvement projects as a cross-island route cannot be overstated. It is a huge accomplishment,” said Governor David Ige. “Senator Inouye’s vision when he initiated the Saddle Road Community Task Force in 1993 is an excellent example of government and the community working together to benefit generations to come.”

“This project was of great importance to Dan as it connects east and west, providing safer access for all travelers, as well as economic opportunities for Hawaii Island residents. He tried to make every groundbreaking and celebration, dating back to 2004. I am pleased that the 48-mile road is complete and so honored that it bears Dan’s name,” said Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye, wife of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye.

Saddle Road/Daniel K. Inouye Highway task force committee being recognized during the ceremony. DOT Photo

The Saddle Road East Side project encompassed a total of nearly six miles of highway, reconstructing approximately three miles of the existing Daniel K. Inouye Highway, upgrading the roadway to modern design standards and including safety features such as 8-foot shoulder lanes, straighter alignment and a climbing lane, and adding three miles of new road. The project also increased the overall highway capacity and removed potential conflicts between military operations and public traffic. The cost was $57 million, which was within the allocated budget.

This joint project between HDOT and FHWA presented unique challenges such as varying subsurface conditions from aʻa, pahoehoe, dense basalt, and volcanic ash and the need to address precautionary measures necessary for containment, treatment and placement of cleared timber to help prevent the spread of the Rapid Ohia Death fungus.

Funding for the Saddle Road projects was made possible through the U.S. Department of the Army Defense Access Road and Ecosystem Management Programs, U.S. Congress, and Hawaii Department of Transportation.

“The completion of the Saddle Road East Side project provides a safe, efficient, cross-island route with access across Hawaii between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa,” said FHWA’s Central Federal Lands project manager Mike Will. “In addition, the use of the Pohakuloa Training Area quarry resources is estimated to have saved approximately $20 million of state and federal funding.”

Previous phases of the Saddle Road Improvements widened and aligned more than 41-miles of road. The east side phase opened today makes for a total of nearly 48 miles of road that has been improved to modern standards at a total approximate cost of $316.5 million, of which the U.S. Army contributed more than $100 million. Saddle Road was initially built as a one-lane road by the U.S. Army in 1942 to connect military training facilities.

The Daniel K. Inouye Highway, State Route 200, begins at the outskirts of Hilo near milepost 6 and extends westward to Mamalahoa Highway State Route 190. The road passes through the saddle between the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea volcanoes. The Daniel K. Inouye Highway climbs nearly 5,500 vertical feet from its eastern terminus to its mid-point. The rainfall gradient along the highway ranges from 10 inches to 200 inches per year, which posed an additional challenge for crews during construction. The 2013 Hawaii Legislature passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 43 to rename the upgraded section of Hawaii Saddle Road to the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

Notice of Construction on Banyan Drive

Hawaii Electric Light announces construction work along Banyan Drive between Banyan Way and Lihiwai Street in Hilo from October 10 to December 29, 2017 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, excluding holidays.Contractors will begin excavation work on October 10. Work will be performed off the road but occasional partial lane closures may be necessary while heavy equipment is moved. Motorists are asked to slow down and drive with caution in the construction area.

This work is part of the company’s efforts to upgrade underground infrastructure and improve service reliability for customers.

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.

Hawaii County Department of Public Works Request for Support Letters for Kea’au – Pahoa Road TIGER Grant Application

Aloha Big Island ‘Ohana!

Please assist the State of Hawaii, Department of Transportation, Division of Highways, Hawaii District with a support letter for their Pahoa Road Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant Application. I have attached DPW’s letter of support for your reference.

As support for the project is very important to the effort, we ask that you respond with a formal letter stating your support for the project. We ask that you respond by Thursday, October 12, 2017. Support letters can be emailed to: donald.l.smith@hawaii.gov

Please contact Donald Smith if you have any questions at (808)933-8866.

Mahalo,
Barett Otani, Hawaii County Department of Public Works

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Community Informational Meetings on the County of Hawaii, Mass Transit Agency Island-Wide Transit Master Plan

The public is invited to Community Informational Meetings on the County of Hawaii, Mass Transit Agency Island-Wide Transit Master Plan that the county has contracted SSFM to conduct these for $500,000.

Kailua-Kona
Monday, October 9, 2017 • 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
West Hawaii Civic Center, Council Building A, Council Chambers
74-5044 Ana Keohokalole Highway

Kea‘au
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 • 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Kea‘au Community Center, 16-186 Pili Mua Street

Pāhoa
Thursday, October 12, 2017 • 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Pāhoa Neighborhood Facility, 15-2910 Kauhale Street

Waimea
Thursday, October 19, 2017 • 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Waimea Elementary School, 67-1225 Māmalahoa Highway

Hilo
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 • 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Aunty Sally Kaleohano’s Luau Hale, 799 Pi‘ilani Street

If you require language translation, an auxiliary aid or service (e.g., sign language interpreter, accessible parking or materials in alternative format), please contact
Jo-Anna Herkes, SSFM International at (808) 356-1260 at least five (5) days prior to the meeting date. TTY users may use TRS to contact our office.

Halona Street Bridge Replacement Project Completed on Schedule

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are pleased to announce the completion of the Halona Street Bridge replacement project on time and within budget nine months after construction began. On Friday, Governor David Ige was joined by federal and state officials in a blessing ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new bridge and road.

View of the Halona Street Bridge from Kohou Street.

“This project is a result of positive coordination between federal and state agencies working together for a common goal of improving transportation infrastructure,” said Gov. David Ige. “We are proud to be working with the FHWA on a dozen additional projects that will benefit Hawaii’s residents and visitors across the state.”

“The successful completion of the Halona Street bridge project exemplifies the virtues of applying innovation to successfully advance transportation improvement projects,” said FHWA’s Central Federal Lands project manager Mike Will. “Prefabricated bridge elements, Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil and contracting innovations where industry is allowed to innovatively compete on both price and contract time, were contributing elements to early project completion.”

Gov. David Ige, area residents and legislators, representatives from the Federal Highways project team, and Kahu Kordell Kekoa gather to bless the new Halona Street Bridge. From Left to Right: Nida Laganse; Nieves Joaquin; Ralph Rizzo, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Hawaii Division Administrator; Sen. Donna Mercado Kim; Dusty Escamilla, FHWA Regional Engineer; Gov. David Ige; Rep. Takushi Ohno; Jane Higa; Florence Higa; Kahu Kordell Kekoa

The improvement project is an example of positive collaboration between Federal and State government. The project cost to replace the structurally deficient bridge was $7.2 million, 80 percent of which was provided by federal funding and 20 percent from HDOT Highways Division revenue.

The bridge was originally built in 1938. Construction began January 2017. Project highlights included replacing the bridge foundation, pavement and railings, as well as replacing the water and gas lines beneath the bridge, all of which improve the safety and reliability of the structure.

Halona Street has reopened for use connecting North Vineyard Boulevard to Houghtailing Street. We thank all the residents who live near the construction site and along the detour route for their patience as crews worked on the necessary improvements.

For more information on the Halona Street Bridge project or the additional bridge and highway improvement projects being delivered through the federal and state partnership, please visit https://flh.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/hi/hidot/.

Entry Road to Mahai`ula section of Kekaha Kai State Park to Close for Road Repairs

The DLNR Division of State Parks will begin the first of three improvement projects planned for Kekaha Kai State Park on Monday, October 2, 2017 with full closure of the entry road to the Mahaiula section of the North Kona park for planned roadway repair improvements.

Kua Bay

The entry road will be closed on weekdays only from October 2 to November 3, 2017, and will remain open on the weekends during normal park hours.

Construction will include pothole repairs, pavement patching of existing paved areas, placement of new compacted gravel in existing unpaved areas, placement of 2 speed humps for speed mitigation, grading of shoulder areas of the entry road for safe access, and additional parking, signage and security barriers. Project contractor is Isemoto Contracting Co. Inc. and project cost is $408,844.

Two future projects for Kekaha Kai are still pending review and approval by the County of Hawaii. DLNR will provide notice when these projects begin after final approvals are obtained. Full closure of the park will not be required, but certain park areas may be closed due to construction activities taking place.

Planned for the park’s Kua Bay section are: installation of two new rinsing showers, two new accessible picnic tables, a new stairway and railings to replace the existing ramp to the beach, and comfort station improvements.

Also planned for the Mahai’ula section will be: a new storage building for parks staff and supplies, equipment and maintenance materials; repair of existing walkway railings; new accessible picnic table and BBQ pit; and comfort station renovations.

Hele-On (The Bus) Community Meetings in Puna

In 2010 Fourth District County Councilman Dennis “Fresh” Onishi received a grant check for $7.2 million on behalf of the County of Hawai‘i from U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye to fund mass transit improvements

I received the following from Councilwoman Jen Ruggles:

Aloha Kakou,

We are putting out the call to all the people in Puna that have ideas to improve our Hele-on Bus System. Now is the time to bring your needs and ideas forth.

This is the first of two rounds of meetings meant to guide the county in making its first ever 20 year Master Transit Plan. MARK YOUR CALENDAR to make one of the following meetings:

  • October 11th at 6pm at Kea’au Community Center 16-186 Pili Mua St. Kea’au HI 96749.
  • October 12th at 6pm at Pahoa Community Facility 15-2910 Kuahala St. Pahoa HI 96778.

Snacks and refreshments will be provided.

Now is the time to show our need for:

  1. More bus routes.
  2. Expanded routes into subdivisions
  3. Your ideas for improvements

Need a ride? Call Jo-Anna at 808-356-1260 to arrange a ride at least 5 days prior to the event. If you cannot attend, please submit your suggestions to heleonsuggestions@ssfm.com.

U.S. Senate Passes APEC Business Travel Card Program

The U.S. Senate today unanimously passed S. 504, a bill introduced by Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) to make permanent the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card Program, which grants Americans and citizens from APEC nations access to fast-track processing lanes at Daniel K. Inouye Honolulu International Airport and airports across the U.S. and Asia-Pacific.

When APEC visited Hawaii I received a media pass from Washington D.C.  and got to attend the events with the world leaders.

Over 200 Hawaii residents are active holders of the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC), which saves 43 minutes on average in airport wait times. Without the passage of the bill, U.S. Customs and Border Protection cannot issue cards to U.S. citizens after September 30, 2018.

“The APEC Business Travel Card has helped hundreds of Hawaii residents travel and conduct business with ease across a region critical to our local economy and jobs,” said Senator Hirono. “By permanently extending this successful program, the Senate today has affirmed the importance of travel to our economy and our country’s engagement with the nations of the Asia-Pacific.”

“With 95 percent of the world’s consumers outside of the United States, it’s critical that we continue to make it more efficient for American businesses to reach overseas markets,” said Senator Daines.

S. 504, the APEC Business Travel Cards Act of 2017, is supported by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce, U.S. Council for International Business, National Foreign Trade Council, U.S. Travel Association, Global Business Travel Association, American Hotel and Lodging Association, U.S.-China Business Council, U.S.-ASEAN Business Council, American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, American Chamber of Commerce in the People’s Republic of China, and the National Center for APEC.

The bill was also cosponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).

2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the creation of the business travel card initiative by APEC, a multilateral forum that includes the U.S., Japan, China and 18 other Pacific Rim economies.

At the 2011 APEC summit in Honolulu, President Obama signed the original bill authorizing the U.S. Government to issue ABTCs to U.S. citizens. Senator Hirono was a cosponsor of the bill as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In November 2016, Senator Hirono urged President Obama to extend the card’s validity from three to five years to be consistent with other APEC nations. On December 13, 2016, CBP began issuing 5-year ABTCs.

S. 504 must now be passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in order to be sent to the President for his signature.