Final APEC traffic jam may have been worst

Julia Faamu
Julia Faamu

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

KO OLINA (HawaiiNewsNow) – The last APEC related traffic jam may have been the most disruptive during the week-long event. The East-bound lanes of the H-1 freeway were shut down for more than an hour (from about 7:30 a.m. until after 8:30 a.m.) so President Obama's motorcade could safely travel from Ko Olina to Hickam Air Force Base. The president left Hickam a short time later bound for Australia.

Closing the freeway during the morning commute snarled traffic for people coming into Honolulu from West and Central Oahu. Side streets were in gridlock because all on-ramps to the H-1 were closed.

"It stopped me from going to school because it was so much traffic. The bus couldn't come or anything," said Julia Faamu shortly after the motorcade whisked by her bus stop on Farrington Highway.

Frustrated motorists posted their thoughts on the Hawaii News Now Facebook page.

One wrote, "This is extremely inconsiderate! I do not understand why he had to leave during rush hour."

Another said, "So rude that he's making people late because he can't leave at a better time."

Some people tell us they think the road closures during APEC lasted longer and caused greater disruption than closures during the president's annual Christmas vacations on Oahu.

A spokesperson with the secret service told Hawaii News Now, "We always provide the highest level of security for secret service protectees. We work in conjunction with local partners to minimize disruption and ensure protection of the president."

Honolulu police have an explanation as to why Tuesday's road closure may have lasted longer than other motorcade road closures. They said president's departure was announced. The general public knew that he would be out on the road. Because of that, security was tighter then when the president makes unannounced trips.

Not everyone who could have been caught in the traffic jam was bothered by it. Someone posted a message on Facebook saying, "No complaints here. We knew it was coming." And person wrote, "Everybody had time to plan around this. Am I right?"

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.