State briefs for March 17

Kauai highway covered by landslide partially reopens

HONOLULU — State officials on Tuesday partially reopened a highway on Kauai that was covered by a landslide after heavy rains last week, reconnecting several small towns that had been cut off from the rest of the island.

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The state Department of Transportation opened an emergency access lane on Kuhio Highway for those driving to the towns of Hanalei, Haena and Wainiha. Firefighters, medical personnel and others providing critical services such as potable water will be allowed to drive on the road for the next two days.

The department said it was working on a plan to provide public access to the road later this week. These measures will likely limit access during construction hours.

Last week, volunteers launched a makeshift ferry service across the Hanalei River to get food and people in and out of the towns.

State sees busiest travel day since start of pandemic in US

HONOLULU — More tourists travelled to Hawaii on Saturday than the state has seen in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

About 26,400 trans-Pacific and interisland travelers were screened by the state’s Safe Travels program on Saturday. That’s the state’s busiest day since coronavirus restrictions caused travel to plummet last year.

Data compiled by the Hawaii Tourism Authority showed that about 18,700 travelers were flying on Saturday for vacation or pleasure.

The Transportation Security Administration said Friday was its busiest screening day since March 15, 2020, with nearly 1.36 million people going through airport checkpoints in the United States.

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The increase coincides with spring break and more vaccinations.

Travel to the Hawaii is still well below pre-pandemic levels, however. In 2019, Hawaii had a record 10.4 million arrivals. Tourism is expected to struggle in Hawaii for years to come.

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