Traffic woes not over, president to depart for Midway Atoll Thursday morning

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UPDATE: As of 10:05 a.m., President Obama has taken off on Air Force One for Midway Atoll.UPDATE: As of 9:09 a.m., President Obama has left his home in Kailua and is en route to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam where he will depart for Midway Atoll.


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President Barack Obama is now in Honolulu, after causing a major shift in rush hour traffic Wednesday evening.

Now, we’re learning more traffic changes may be in store Thursday morning, when he departs for Midway Atoll.

According to an updated schedule from the White House, the president will depart Honolulu from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam at 9:35 a.m.

That could trigger more closures as he travels there from Kailua, though not necessarily to the extent we saw Wednesday.

Earlier in the week, city officials warned of major road closures upon his arrival, and the public appeared to heed the warning.

On Wednesday, traffic started to build by 2:30 p.m. as many chose to head home ahead of the anticipated closures. Westbound traffic was slow-going on Nimitz Highway and onto the freeway, and other surface streets were heavy. By 5:30 p.m., however, the freeway appeared to be relatively smooth in both directions.

Police prepared to shut down the freeway at around 5:45 p.m. and Air Force One touched down at around 5:50 p.m.

The president stepped off the plane at around 6:05 p.m. and greeted dignitaries and members of the military, before heading to the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa accompanied by U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

There, he delivered remarks to leaders from the Pacific Island Conference of Leaders and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress.

Closures were triggered along major thoroughfares as he made his way to Manoa. The freeway nearest JBPHH reopened at around 6:15 p.m. following his departure and all roads were reopened by 6:30 p.m.

Additional temporary closures followed the event as his motorcade escorted him to Modern Honolulu, where he dined at Morimoto Waikiki. Then he took Pali Highway to Kailua, where he will stay overnight.

Here are a few snapshots of traffic around town earlier Wednesday:

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