Southern mayors, senators raise a stink about Route 4 - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Southern mayors, senators raise a stink about Route 4

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 by Krystal Paco

Guam - You don't have to be a safety expert to vouch that Route 4 is a dangerous stretch.

"Right now the road is so bumpy and it's a hazard to all motorists. Where is the safety concern for our people and our constituents and our residents down there," said Inarajan mayor Doris Flores Lujan.

During a quarterly status conference on the closure of the Ordot Dump at the District Court of Guam today, southern village mayors and senators vocalized their opposition towards GovGuam's financing plan to address a $19.9 million shortfall in order to comply with the Ordot consent decree. Specifically Mayor Lujan says she's shocked and alarmed that improvements to route four - the road leading to the Layon Landfill in her village - is on the chopping block.

"These big trucks are the ones that really put a hamper on our roads down there," she said. "I believe there are 18 trucks a day. And can you imagine them coming to and from 6 o'clock in the morning to 3 o'clock in the afternoon because the dump closes at 3:30. It's bad enough the residents of Inarajan are already smelling the stench from the Layon Landfill. It's getting worse"

Court documents state GovGuam's legal counsel Attorney Rawlen Mantonona suggests that Route 4 is in fact safe and that safe travel for solid waste trucks is being provided by a pilot vehicle escorting the packer trucks from Talofofo Bay to the Layon Landfill. Cutting the project would result in $6.4 million in savings that GovGuam hopes to use towards the shortfall to close the Ordot Dump.

But it's not just southern mayors raising a stink as senators also submitted a resolution to the federal court today. Their resolution specifies that Guam law sets an 80,000-lb. weight limit for commercial vehicles on Guam roads. That law is often broken however with some trucks weighing in at over 100,000 lbs. The excess weight from traffic in and out of the landfill results in the wear and tear to Route 4. And although GovGuam has proposed an alternative to cutting the project, Speaker Judi Won Pat says their numbers just don't match up.

She said, "I know Mr. Mantonana had provided an alternative in terms of letting the government take care of it or two if there are any reimbursements due to the government that they could use the money. The only problem with that is that we weren't able to even validate that even today."

Meanwhile, Department of Public Works director Carl Dominguez clarifies that route four improvements aren't being deleted, but rather delayed until funds become available. "The recommendation is to continue to use the escort vehicles until such time as we can find the money. From the Federal Highway side that stretch of road is programmed ten years from now. Or maybe even longer. So short to medium term we simply don't have the six and half million dollars available at least from the federal highway side," he explained.

GovGuam legal counsel Sandra Cruz-Miller declined to comment to KUAM's questions, but noted in court today that there will be another hearing to address GovGuam's financing plan.

Also at today's status conference, federal receiver Gershman, Brickner & Bratton's David Manning expressed opposition towards cutting improvements to Route 4 stating that GovGuam must provide safe access to the landfill.
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