GUAM TOURIST DISTRICT GETS FACELIFT

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Tumon Bay restoration please hotel owners

By Connor Murphy

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Mar 20, 2009) - The next phase of the Tumon development Project will involve removing all the paver blocks in the Pleasure Island area, officials announced yesterday to cheers from hotel executives.

At the general membership meeting of the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association, Department of Public Works and Guam Waterworks Authority representatives updated members of the hospitality industry on current projects.

Pale San Vitores Road, the main artery connecting most of the island’s large hotels and restaurants, has for years dealt with the sinking, interlocking bricks, along with potholes, sewage and water problems, as well as other issues.

Public Works has a US$4 million project scheduled to start soon, which will fix many of these problems, officials said at yesterday’s meeting.

The Tumon Redevelopment project started in 1998 to improve the heavily traveled road. The pavers were put in place in the first two phases of the project.

They are loose because there is two inches of sand between the bricks and the pavement for many of them, said project consultant William Flores of W.B. Flores and Associates at yesterday’s meeting. Bricks put in place in the second phase of redevelopment are more secure because they are directly over asphalt, he said.

All bricks will be replaced with textured, colored concrete, Flores said.

The project is waiting for clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency and then can begin, said Ray B. Padua, acting chief engineer of DPW’s Division of Highways. He said the contractor, Maeda Pacific, is ready to start.

A downfall of the replacement is that traffic must be kept off the texturized concrete for up to four weeks after it is laid, Flores said. Additionally, it must be retextured every couple of years so it doesn’t become too smooth.

"From an engineering standpoint, it is so important to us to have that texture, to avoid sliding or skidding," Padua added.

Besides removing the bricks, crews will fill potholes and replace asphalt and pavement, according to Flores’s presentation.

Each intersection touched by the current project, which stretches down the hill in Upper Tumon from the Tasi 17 Condominiums along Marine Corps Drive to the Hotel Nikko Guam and then to the Acanta Mall, will have its loop detectors upgraded to improve traffic flow. Loop detectors are what sense cars on the road to change traffic lights.

The road from the Westin Resort Guam to the Nikko will be drastically upgraded, providing "what amounts to a new paved road there," Flores said.

GWA General Manager Leonard Olive also spoke at the GHRA meeting. He said upgrades to water and sewer lines along San Vitores are in the works, but didn’t have specifics to offer the industry representatives.

Flores said engineers have talked about turning San Vitores into a one-way street to improve traffic flow, but added that feedback on that switch has been evenly divided.

"That consensus has to come from you folks, because you’re the ones who have to live with it," he said at the meeting.

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