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Obama departs Oahu; traffic stopped for more than an hour

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 06:43 p.m. HST, Nov 15, 2011

Photo Gallery: President Obama's departure

President Barack Obama left Hawaii today en route to Australia for a series of meetings aimed at strengthening the United States' presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

The president’s motorcade from the J.W. Marriott Ihilani resort in Ko Olina to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam closed the east-bound lanes of the H-1 Freeway for more than an hour during the morning commute.

Obama's motorcade arrived at the air field at 8:36 a.m. and was met by a group of 40 to 50 servicemen and women who were selected by their units’ leaders to attend and get a chance to meet the commander in chief.

The president spent a few minutes shaking hands and greeting the service members from all branches of the military. He boarded Air Force One at 8:40 a.m. after a brief exchange with Adm. Robert Willard, head of U.S. Pacific Command; Gen. Gary North, head of Pacific Air Forces; and Col. Sam C. Barrett, commander of the 15th Wing based at Hickam.

The president’s visit to Honolulu lasted a little more than four days and involved high-level diplomacy at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, a fundraiser and an afternoon of golf.

A small group of employees and guests waved and snapped photos as the motorcade left the Ihilani resort at 8:12 a.m. Pool reporters traveling with the president saw a class of elementary school students waving to the motorcade behind a chain-link fence along the route.

Police began closing the H-1 Freeway at about 7:30 a.m., but the motorcade did not proceed to the base until the rush-hour traffic that remained on the freeway had cleared to the airport.

Honolulu city traffic cameras showed roads leading to the freeway, including the H-2 Freeway, Kamehameha Highway and Fort Weaver Road backing up with cars. Police vehicles also were on freeway overpasses to block motorists from crossing the freeway during the closure.

Traffic cameras also showed the freeway opening as the motorcade passed. The first cars on the freeway moved quickly, but the heavy traffic back-up resumed as more cars returned to the road.

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Glassy_eye wrote:
If memory serves correctly, Bill Clinton didn't require that the roads be closed for his mororcade in Hawaii. He even ate dinner at Buss's in Kailua. Of course, that was pre 9/11 and a lot of things were different back then.
on November 15,2011 | 07:03AM
Upperkula wrote:
What you guy's don't trust us guy's the way we drive here on Oahu you got to block the traffic all up...Oh who am I kidding I am afraid to drive on these roads nowadays. LOL
on November 15,2011 | 07:17AM
Synikal1 wrote:
hurry and leave B.O. so we can get some normalcy.
on November 15,2011 | 07:17AM
suckseed wrote:
Good riddance
on November 15,2011 | 07:38AM
bwaikiki wrote:
Please confirm that he's gone .....
on November 15,2011 | 07:38AM
kispest wrote:
Hope he won't come back for Xmas...
on November 15,2011 | 08:05AM
SKJJJ wrote:
Yes, please don't come here for Christmas ... or at least stay in Hickam.
on November 15,2011 | 09:29AM
scooters wrote:
No luck there. He's coming back...
on November 15,2011 | 11:44AM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
Obama and the delegates did right to wear suits at APEC. It was a great message that Hawaii is more than just vacations. Bring on the conventions world!
on November 15,2011 | 08:29AM
maya wrote:
Convention attendees are not going to shell out the money to wear a suit in Hawaii. They pick conventions based on the location, and how much fun they are going to have there. It is a tax write off, so the more tropical place- the better. They wear suits on the mainland in a business work setting, ( although in the west coast- that is disappearing for more comfortable attire), they do not want to wear suits on a vacation type convention. Wearing a suit in those pictures looked ridiculous.
on November 15,2011 | 10:54AM
myviewofthings wrote:
on November 15,2011 | 08:31AM
butinski wrote:
Good riddance and don't come back. I hope you really weren't serious about coming back for Christmas vacation. I never could understand why you refused to stay at MCAF Kaneohe instead of using our tax dollars to rent a villa and provide security.
on November 15,2011 | 09:42AM
scooters wrote:
Rumor has it that he purchased that home..OMG, is that going to be the retirement home next year?
on November 15,2011 | 11:45AM
keys4me wrote:
you know, I agree with you, and isnt the house he rents NOT a legal vacation rental. ??? doesnt the law say it must be rented for a minimum of 28 days??? He doesnt belong in a residential neighborhood.
on November 15,2011 | 11:54AM
9ronboz wrote:
I hope he spends Xmas/NY away from Hawaii this year. We need to recover our losses.
on November 15,2011 | 10:39AM
4EwaLocal wrote:
It would have been wonderful if the President could have told his advisors, "You know what, I know Hawaii, I grew up here, and I know that if I stay at the Ihilani and then try to make it from there to Hickam for an 8:30 am departure that I am going to cause havoc with rush hour traffic. So, let's not do that. I'll stay at Hickam over night. Heck, I can even stay in Airforce One since it is equipped with luxurious sleeping quarters and all the food and drink Michelle and I could ever need . . . . and while we are on that, let's not do the fundraising or high level talks at Ko'olina. After all, transporting me and the rest of the dignitaries to and from there will only cause traffic problems. Let's keep all of those things in Waikiki where everyone already is staying. I'm from here. I don't want to cause problems for my fellow kama'aina. . . " That would have been sweet of the President. But, alas, it was not to be.
on November 15,2011 | 10:40AM
luv2play wrote:
Why stop there, 4Ewa? We should have just said no to APEC and suggest they have it in a more appropriate US Pacific Rim city like Anchorage, or Homer. No inconvenience at all.
on November 15,2011 | 11:23AM
3012708737 wrote:
Or he could have put on a goofy "Mission Accomplished" flight suit and just leaped in the air and flown on his own power to the airport like Bush did.
on November 15,2011 | 11:53AM
SBmama wrote:
4EwaLocal, I totally agreed with you! The least impact on everyone here should have been priority one. I'm sure SOMEONE on his security detail/advance party is a local and should have made the suggestions if it didn't come from the President......
on November 15,2011 | 12:23PM
luv2play wrote:
No wonder mainland folks think we're small time.
on November 15,2011 | 01:08PM
macnut50 wrote:
Perfect! If he had some Aloha and consideration, he should have scheduled it earlier. Proves he dosen't care for the local folks!
on November 15,2011 | 06:54PM
keikamaui wrote:
Mainland news is reporting that Obama has stated that he and his family will be returning for their Christmas vacation in Hawaii this year. Strange that it's not being reported over here. Second thought no it isn't.
on November 15,2011 | 11:16AM
3012708737 wrote:
One newspaper can only hold so much news.
on November 15,2011 | 11:53AM
SBmama wrote:
It was covered in last night's new on KGMB....
on November 15,2011 | 12:19PM
ymanalohyn wrote:
bra pay attention he stated that at ihilani yesterday waxin da ear no can hea
on November 15,2011 | 01:22PM
Skeeter wrote:
As a "Mahalo" to the residents and visitors for being patient and cooperative during this past week, how about having a - "NO SALES TAX DAY" (or two) - on all purchases.
on November 15,2011 | 11:25AM
keys4me wrote:
your telling me he HAD to leave during rush hour???? Not before or after! how Arrogant.
on November 15,2011 | 11:52AM
3012708737 wrote:
It's not like he's the leader of the free world or anything. Oh, we forgot!
on November 15,2011 | 11:54AM
MakaniKai wrote:
Barry certainly did not have to depart during rush hour traffic.....garans the troll et al went along for the ride! Che Whoooooo
on November 15,2011 | 12:08PM
sukebesan wrote:
One thing's for sure - I am never voting for this POS again and other Democratic Party POS
on November 15,2011 | 01:10PM
ymanalohyn wrote:
Nothing but HATERS all you outta state guys should go back to where you guys from Obama is kamaaina
on November 15,2011 | 01:20PM
9ronboz wrote:
kama'aina? ha
on November 15,2011 | 09:55PM
cookievargas wrote:
That was students from Aiea Elementary.
on November 15,2011 | 01:17PM
alikarx03 wrote:
jeez all you people do is complain about this, and complain about that....isn't there more important/interesting things in your lives to worry about. i'm guessing there isn't....
on November 15,2011 | 01:21PM
BRock wrote:
So many whiners, and some so rude as well.
on November 15,2011 | 01:34PM
chuck4664 wrote:
obama is the greatest president ever, Hawaii people should vote and renamed Oahu to Obama Island. obama is the real King of Hawaii. Hail Obama
on November 15,2011 | 02:59PM
butinski wrote:
Sheesh, you must be smoking powerful stuff. Take it from this senior kamaaina who wishes Barry the clown would just go away. Hey ma, he finally left Hawaii so throw out the salt to purify the air to get rid of unwanted spirits.
on November 15,2011 | 04:00PM
maya wrote:
Funniest comment of the day!
on November 15,2011 | 08:33PM
9ronboz wrote:
good idea, lets name our capital obamalulu
on November 15,2011 | 09:57PM
3blackdogs wrote:
When President Obama comes over on visits to our island. It shows that he still loves the place where he grew up, went to school and more so...college. With our State hosting the APEC, we should all be proud. it will help the economy, show to the rest of the world how beautiful our island can be. of course, there will be many to "grumble" about the road closures and businesses that didn't do well doing that time, but EVERYBODY had ample time to prepare and sorry but it's nobody's fault but their own. Aslo, security purposes will always be enforced when a president is involved.
on November 15,2011 | 03:19PM
Thegame wrote:
You are high!!! So everyone that was stuck in traffic...it was there fault?? How many ways are there to get around? Car? Bus? They both travel on the road. The President is the one who has access to a helicopter to FLY over the traffic. If he really grew up here and went to school here then he MUST be aware of our traffic situation! So he decided to get on the road during the morning rush hour...yea, thanks. Everyone I know left earlier, but so did everyone else and you can only go so fast during Monday morning traffic. Help our economy? I know people who have lost money since APEC started. Good timing, right in time for the holidays. APEC will help a few, but not many.
on November 15,2011 | 06:33PM
SKJJJ wrote:
"and more so ... college?" Wow, where do you get your facts? I'm definitely not a President Obama supporter but at least get his facts straight. President Obama went to Occidental College than transfered to Columbia University before graduating from Havard Law School. His father went to UH.
on November 15,2011 | 08:57PM
Kalli wrote:
How arrogant of Barry Obama to expect the entire Island of Oahu to come to a halt so he could drive unimpeded to his personal plane that could take off anytime he wanted. I guess since he never held a real job in his life he cannot understand what it is like to have to be somewhere on time.
on November 15,2011 | 04:17PM
Thegame wrote:
Do not come back here!!!
on November 15,2011 | 06:24PM
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