Chinese President Hu Jintao arrives for APEC
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Joint base Pearl Harbor/Hickam was completely locked down as the Air China plane carrying China's President, Hu Jintao, started to land just before eight oclock this morning.
Security was extremely tight with secret service, military and local law enforcement units working from the ground and air.
All international media, including many from China, were cleared just to be present on the tarmac.
Then, after a short rainfall and after all the Chinese delegation had disembarked.
President Hu Jintao emerged with his wife. The leader of the world's second largest economy was received by Chinese dignitaries from Washington and Los Angeles before making his way to the motorcade.
Honolulu's Mayor, Peter Carlisle, warned drivers early this morning of road closures to accommodate APEC dignitaries.
"Prepare for a potential major delay of at least one hour," said Carlisle.
By the time President Hu was ready to go, the Nimitz viaduct was already shut down.
"For security reasons, we cannot elaborate regarding the exact time of road closures or the specific route the leader's motorcade will take," said Carlisle.
Portions of the H1 Freeway eastbound, along with overpasses from the Radford pedestrian bridge to town, were all empty. Then tower cameras spotted the huge entourage headed for Waikiki.
Online Hawaii News Now viewers posted comments and pictures as the Chinese President passed by.
Adriana Gilbert posted on the Hawaii News Now Facebook Page, "My kids and I just moved here from California and it was really neat to watch this from our hotel window! Got a great video!! Aloha Presidents!"
Jason Oswalt of Punahou captured video of the motorcade as it passed in front of the home of President Obama's grandmother.
Others stuck in traffic closures vented their frustrations.
Lieren Grow Pearson posted, "I WAS RIGHT THERE TOO!!! I sat in the car for an HOUR stopped!"
Drivers should expect more of the same types of closures tomorrow, in the morning and afternoon, as we see more delegations arrive from countries like Australia, Russia, Japan, Korea, Mexico and the United States, with President Obama expected tomorrow night.
The only thing that might help commuters, it's Veterans Day. Fewer cars will most certainly be on the road. But city officials still recommend you go early and be prepared to spend an hour in your car.
Other news from today's city briefing to report:
Don't forget traffic reopens along Kapiolani and Atkinson in front of the Hawaii Convention Center, though reduced lanes. And buses 3, 9 and Express A resume their Waikiki routes.
However, Ala Moana into Waikiki and the Hale Koa security zone will cause delays and alter bus routes. Bus coming from the West to Waikiki: 19, 20, 42 and Country Express will end at Ala Moana Center. So transfers are needed to continue into Waikiki.
From the East, 23,24 will end in Waikiki and not continue stop at Ala Moana Center. Transfers to Route 8 will get you there though. Affected are Express Buses, 201, 202, and 203. Check with www.bus.org for more information.
City Saturday trash pickup at 4:30 am has also been expanded to areas from Kuhio Avenue to Ala Wai and Kapahulu Avenue to Niu Street.
Bulky trash pickup is cancelled for Saturday, November 12th for the convention center area...and rescheduled for Tuesday, November 15th. City officials say DON'T put your bulky curbside until late Monday night, November 14th.
For more APEC information: www.honolulu/gov
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