State gets ready for presidential visit

The Associated Press and The Maui News

President Donald Trump plans to meet with the governors of Alaska, Hawaii and Pacific U.S. territories amid ongoing tensions with North Korea during his visit to Honolulu today and Saturday on his way to Asia.

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker told reporters that the meeting today is expected to focus on Trump’s upcoming trip to Asia and “Pacific theater issues” affecting the governors. Walker, who is politically unaffiliated, has raised concerns with North Korea weapon’s tests and suggested the strategic importance of having a naval base in Alaska.

The governors of the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands were invited to the meeting, Walker said.

The president and the first lady are scheduled to arrive today and depart for Asia on Saturday. The City and County of Honolulu advised the public to expect heavy traffic and delays during the president’s visit, especially in the Waikiki area where he staying.

Road and sidewalk closures on the west end of Waikiki will severely impact pedestrian and vehicle traffic from today to Saturday morning, the city said. Vehicle, public bus and pedestrian access will be off-limits from Kuhio Avenue between Kalaimoku and Kai’olu streets; Kalaimoku Street between Kalakaua and Kuhio avenues; and the two mauka lanes of Kalakaua Avenue between Kalaimoku and Saratoga streets.

Freeway and road closures are planned this afternoon with eastbound traffic between Pearl Harbor and Waikiki scheduled to be impacted from 2 to 3 p.m. and from 7 to 8 p.m. Westbound traffic between Waikiki and Pearl Harbor will be affected from 4 to 5 p.m., the city said.

For security reasons, specific routes and times will not be released and may be subject to change, the city said.

The state Department of Transportation said it is not provided advance information regarding the president’s specific travel plans, times and routes. During previous presidential visits, the Secret Service has directed intermittent closures in both directions of the traveled roadway, in addition to closing on-ramps, overpasses and underpasses on the route, the department said.

There will be a security zone in waters off Daniel K. Inouye International Airport on Oahu today and Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday. The security zone will be in effect from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. today and from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday, unless canceled earlier by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port of Honolulu.

The Coast Guard is coordinating with the Honolulu Police Department and other federal, state and county law enforcement agencies to conduct patrols of the area under the direction of the U.S. Secret Service.

Anyone entering the zone without the permission of the Coast Guard Captain of the Port is subject to a penalty of not more than $90,063 for each violation or a criminal penalty of not more than 25 years in prison and a fine of not more than $250,000. Offending vessels may also be seized.