MAIN GUAM HAUL ROAD TO GET $1.5 BILLION UPGRADE

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Buildup funds to improve supply network

By Connor Murphy

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, May 4, 2009) – Officials plan to beef up several major highways on Guam to create a haul road network to accommodate the upcoming buildup.

More than a third of the $3.5 billion anticipated to be spent on roads for the buildup will go toward improving this network, which will serve as the main route for military and cargo truck traffic, as well as a major route for civilian traffic.

As construction gears up for the move of 8,000 Marines to Guam from Okinawa, traffic volume will increase and heavier vehicles will hit the roads.

The network provides a predetermined route for the military and construction traffic, allowing planners to target improvements to specific roads, the 2030 Guam Transportation Plan states.

The local Department of Public Works anticipates $1.5 billion in funding from the U.S. Department of Defense for improvements to the road network, DPW Director Larry Perez said.

The network replaces an earlier idea to construct a new highway cutting across central Guam to link U.S. military facilities in the north and south.

Spending the money to improve existing roads would be more practical, said Jeff Fielder of Parsons Transportation Group, a DPW consultant.

The route will take trucks on Marine Corps Drive north from the port, then to Route 8 in Hagåtña. They would take Routes 8 and 16 north and east before using Harmon Loop Road to connect back with Marine Corps Drive in Dededo, and continuing northward to the Marine base planned for Route 3.

A key component of the route is bypassing the congested Tamuning and Upper Tumon sections of Marine Corps Drive, states the transportation plan.

Other major truck routes will include Route 3 north of NCTS Finegayan and Route 9, which provide access to Northwest Field and Andersen Air Force Base, according to the plan.

Another key connection is along Route 15, or the back road to Andersen, and Chalan Lujuna in Yigo, which will connect the Yigo rock quarry to the military construction sites, the plan states.

Improvements

Major work is needed to prepare the roads for the additional traffic, the plan states.

Pavement strengthening, roadway widening, intersection improvements and bridge replacements are planned for almost every stretch of the route.

Within a year, $5.8 million will be spent to improve the intersection of Marine Corps Drive and Route 8.

This will include adding a left-turn lane from Route 8 onto Marine Corps Drive southbound, a previously prohibited turn.

A dedicated right-turn lane from Marine Corps Drive northbound onto Route 8 also would be added, according to the transportation plan.

More than $9 million also will be spent on improving the intersection of Marine Corps Drive and Route 3, along which the Defense Department likely will build its new Marine base.

This will include a new right-turn acceleration lane and the conversion of the current Route 3 southbound right-turn lane to a shared right/left-turn lane, according to plans.

To accommodate the heavy loads coming through the port, the defense department also plans to spend $15.9 million to improve Route 11, which connects Marine Corps Drive with the commercial port.

Pacific Daily News: http://www.guampdn.com

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