POSTED: Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fewer cruises heading to Big Island

HILO » The Big Island will see fewer cruise ships making port calls this year.

Schedules for 2009 indicate that the vessels will have 100 arrivals, bringing more than 200,000 passengers ashore at Hilo Harbor. That is down from 128 calls and more than 250,000 passengers last year.

In 2007, a year some consider the island's passenger ship heyday, 500,000 passengers arrived.

The decrease this year apparently is due to the loss of two Norwegian Cruise Lines vessels—the Pride of Hawaii a year ago and the Pride of Aloha in May.

Both ships carried more than 2,000 passengers, and both arrived several times a month.

Local tourist attractions are likely to be affected, including the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens at Onomea Bay and the Pacific Tsunami Museum in Hilo.


H-1 retaining wall will be rebuilt

The deteriorating retaining wall alongside the School Street onramp to the H-1 freeway will be rebuilt in an $8.9 million project.

Gov. Linda Lingle has released the funds, and design work will begin next month, according to a state announcement. Construction is expected to begin in August and take about a year.

There are cracks in the 10-foot wall, which supports a 15-foot-high sloping embankment, as well as cracks in the onramp pavement and separation in the concrete curbing. The wall appears to be leaning toward the freeway, according to the state.

The project is part of a $1.8 billion infrastructure construction plan announced by the governor in December. The plan includes 1,500 projects, which can be tracked on the state Web page at www.hawaii.gov/cip.