Barrigada community vents about roadwork - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Barrigada community vents about roadwork

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - Residents and local business owners are furious about the construction work that continues at the tri-intersection in Barrigada. Many gathered during an oversight hearing on Friday night to voice their concerns.

Construction work has been on going for several months at the Route 8,10 and 16 tri-intersection. According to Barrigada mayor Jessie Palican, they've been forced to spend extra cash from his budget to erect signs and place speed bumps inside the village. "The total manpower spent from August through October is approximately 2,080 hours that we computed for hourly time for maintenance of $10.07 gave us a total of $20,946 in terms of labor. In addition, $10,027 was for supplies, and materials," he said.

Palican has also stationed himself and some of his workers to provide traffic control near the schools. While safety is a major concern at the tri-intersection, local businesses say they're suffering. Bob Perron, operates the Shell gas station nearby, says, "We've been able to survive but we're very concerned that when the second phase of the work begins and the other half of the road is closed, our service station will be completely inaccessible. There needs to be some sort of arrangement and access into the site for us to keep it open to employ the twelve people that work there."

Cathy Robinson from Crown Bakery agrees, saying business has dropped significantly.  "We are a small business and in our area, we're also feeling the affect as I can see as poor planning as far as traffic flow is on Route 8 and Route 10 and ever since August, our sales have dropped to about 50% compared to August of last year," she told KUAM News.

Also concerned is Guam Fire Chief Dave Peredo. He says the construction project is affecting the response time at the Barrigada Fire Station, noting, "This is a major concern of mine due to the fact that the response time of units from station three will be much longer than normal. Delaying vital care that a patient may need for a burning structure or whatever the emergency response may be."

In the meantime, Department of Public Works director Andy Leon Guerrero says they've been trying to find ways to ease congestion there. "We at this point are very close to getting that bypass adjacent to Route 16. We are waiting for certification from the Department of Land Management. Once we get that, we've had contact with the military. They've looked at our design. They have accepted the design work and in the very near future - maybe two to three weeks from now, we will have access to that property," he said.

He says the biggest concern is when the traffic shifts to the other side.

Things got heated when Senator Judi Guthertz questioned why DPW failed to meet with the members of the community most affected by the construction. "Maybe we should have a town meeting," Leon Guerrero speculated. Guthertz then questioned, "Why didn't you speak to them before you started this project? Why didn't you gather the business community and the residents together and work with them to work out a more workable plan? You folks are spending millions and millions of dollars."

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