Drivers stuck in H1 freeway APEC shutdown

Tom Coyne
Tom Coyne
Sharon Black
Sharon Black
Selene Maballo
Selene Maballo

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In order for President Obama and all the other APEC leaders to get to the leeward side almost all of the H1 freeway was shutdown leaving plenty of drivers in park.

At exactly 8:30 am the police and military moved in blocking on and off ramps and even over and underpasses all the way from Waikiki to the Ihilani Hotel.  This was the last civilian car on the freeway followed seconds later by the first motorcade.  Several more would follow.  While the dignitaries had smooth sailing countless drivers sat and waited.

"I thought they'd close the freeway down not the overpasses," said Bob Nakagawa, driver. "It's overkill."

"I'm not happy. I knew it was going to happen I thought it was only for a half an hour," said Tom Coyne, driver. "It's very inconvenient. Extremely inconvenient."

"We were just going to go and the policeman came down here and stopped us and said nobody is allowed to go over there but I said we're only going to go to the Pearl Country Club to have breakfast because we have friends there waiting for us," said Dora Miyasato, who sat in the car with four other ladies.

"I don't feel like complaining about it," laughed Mike Fragiao, driver. "It's a small sacrifice. It's better to have it than not have it.  I don't mind waiting. I guess I'll just turn around if they let us."

Pedestrians weren't even allowed to walk over the freeway.

"Look at this, it's a whole neighborhood no one can get home, nobody can go anywhere I can't walk my dog, you can't do anything because of APEC," said Sharon Black, pointing at the back log of cars.

Selene Maballo was standing at the Pearlridge Square Condominiums on the makai side of the freeway.  Her ride is the first car blocked by the military on the mauka side of the freeway.

"So close but yet so far. What can I tell you," said Selene Maballo.

They are supposed to be helping set up at church but no amount of divine intervention could them get through the APEC blockades.

"We called the pastor and he understands of course," said Maballo.  "Right now I do mind yes. Right now I do. I really want to get to service and help out and things like that. It's my normal routine. I understand though, they're leaders of countries and they're here for something really important and special and President Obama is trying to do something important so it's understandable but it's slightly inconvenient."

At 9:23 the police helicopter flew over looking at rooftops.  Then President Obama's motorcade drives through Aiea and Pearl City.  A short time later this is him coming into leeward Oahu with the whole entourage following close behind.

At 9:32 the Russian leaders pass through.

Then at 9:53 officers on the ground got the call. The blockade is lifted and people are finally able to go about their day.

"It's great I can get back on with my life on the road," said George Sanqui, driver.

There will be rolling closures and delays as well when the foreign leaders return to Waikiki and there will be rolling closures tomorrow too when many of the dignitaries make their way to the airport to fly home.

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