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Airport to close down Central Avenue

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - The clock is ticking for the Guam International Airport Authority to close down Central Avenue in Tiyan and there are efforts to finally get the Tiyan Parkway project underway. The Tiyan Parkway has been in the works for years, but there have been some significant delays in starting Phase I of the project. 

Governor's senior advisor Arthur Clark says the land owned by the airport in the first phase by route 8 has been a point of contention, telling KUAM News, "We need to essentially buy that property from the airport, so that's where the airport needs FAA's approval to release that property to us." Clark says the money will come from the Federal Highway Administration to purchase some of the inland property.

"The problem is we've got to get FAA to sign off on that and allow the airport to sell it.  At this point the FAA said they're willing to do it but what they want to do is they want to make sure that if we're going to construct Phase I; we're going to finish Phase II, and so we don't end up with a road that the airport gave away property for and we constructed and we have no progress on finishing the entire parkway," he added.

Phase II of the parkway will be constructed along the cliff side where original landowners reside. Clark says the government, through the Guam Housing Corporation and the Department of Land Management, has been contacting families to discuss a land exchange or purchase of the Tiyan property.

While officials initially thought they could finalize the purchase of property next fiscal year, Clark says time is of the essence. "The airport is getting real close to the point where they're ready to close Central Avenue for their runway expansion, and so if they close that off then we got 14,000-15,000 cars going across Tiyan there - that's going to result in severe congestion. The traffic congestion is bad enough already. But you can imagine what impact that will have," he said.

Speaker Judi Won Pat introduced legislation that would allow a supplemental appropriation to help get the process underway and begin closing on some of the purchases. Clark says buying the property or exchanging land for cliff side original landowners will be evidence to the FAA that GovGuam is committed to finishing the parkway.

"I think if we can acquire this land then that opens up the possibility that we would be able to convince the airport and FAA from closing off Central Avenue," Clark concluded.

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