GUAM PLANS ROAD IMPROVEMENTS FOR BUILDUP

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Thousands of new military residents anticipated

By Tiffany Sukola SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, March 30, 2010) – GUAM’S busy intersections will only get busier once the population surge associated with the relocation of 8,000 U.S. Marines and their dependents occur, public works officials said yesterday.

As a result, a major overhaul of several of the island’s major intersections is necessary, Department of Public Works acting director Andrew Leon Guerrero said during the groundbreaking ceremony for the re-construction of the Route 8, 10 and 16 tri-intersection.

"Any improvement is good improvement especially for this intersection," said Leon Guererro.

DPW unveiled its $4.5 million plan to upgrade the popular tri-intersection yesterday. More than 2,000 feet of road will be completely reconstructed, DPW officials said.

According to Leon Guererro, 1600 feet of Route 8 and 16,520 feet of Route 10 and 520 feet of Route 8A will be under construction for the better part of a year.

The project will also add two left and two right turn lanes at Route 10 as well as an additional lane through the intersection for motorists traveling towards Agana. Sidewalks, handicap ramps, traffic signs and street lights will be added and upgraded as well.

Leon Guererro said a completely new traffic signal at the intersection will be installed, which will help the flow of traffic move smoothly even with an increase in vehicle traffic over the next few years.

Construction is set to begin next month and contract winner Kinden Corporation is expected to complete the project in approximately 360 days.

The project is 100 percent federally funded by the Federal Highway Administration through the Territorial Transportation Improvement Plan, said Leon Guerrero.

Barrigada mayor Jessie Palican said the improvements to the tri-intersection have been a long time coming. He said safety is a number one concern as the area is seeing an increase in motorist activity.

Motorists clog the intersection since the Army National Guard center, Untalan Middle School and the fire station are all close in proximity to the tri-intersection.

"There’s always a backup sometimes all the way back to Untalan because there is only one turning lane," Palican said.

Leon Guererro said that the year-long project will have an impact on motorists traveling through the area.

"With progress, we can’t avoid inconveniences," said Leon Guererro of the delays motorists can expect as a result of the construction.

He said DPW is working with contractors to minimize delays, especially during peak hours. However, Leon Guererro said drivers should plan to take alternate routes if travel time is a concern.

Palican said motorists using Barrigada’s secondary roads as an alternate route should remember that the speed limit is significantly less than on the main road. "Safety for my residents is still my main concern," he said.

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