The road to Layon is cause for concern - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

The road to Layon is cause for concern

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 by Krystal Paco

Guam - Federal receivership for the Ordot Dump closure may be scheduled to end in December, but it'll be a bumpy road to the finish line. That's because GovGuam's financial plan is under fire. In order to afford the costs associated with the closure, GovGuam has proposed cutting a handful of projects, including road repairs to Route 4.    

"It made me nervous," said Chief Judge Francis Tydingco-Gatewood.   
 
The federal judge was referring to her experience along Route 4 in Inarajan last week.

As she told the court today in a hearing to address GovGuam's financial plan, she witnessed a trash hauler veer off the road.

But that's a typical sight along Route 4 where as many as twenty of those trucks come and go six days a week in order to get to the Layon Landfill.

And while the road has been the subject of complaints from southern residents, repairs to the road are unlikely - after all, GovGuam's financial plan outlines cutting the roadwork in order to use the savings towards the Ordot Dump closure.

As GovGuam attorney Rawlen Mantanona stated today, the road to Layon is "no more dangerous than any other roads prioritized ahead of it." this according to the Guam Transportation Improvement Plan - a master plan that outlines federally funded roadwork through the year 2030.

According to the plan, the road to Layon falls so low on the priority list it won't be addressed for another fifteen years.

But is Route 4 an accident waiting to happen? Department of Public Works chief engineer Phillip Slagel took the stand in the government's defense. Slagel reported that roadways are judged against recognized safety standards. Criteria include the width of the roadway, design speed, geometric design, traffic congestion, projected growth, and accident history.

Slagel stated that he didn't have enough information to compare Route 4 to other roads higher in the priority list. He did note however though that trash haulers traversing along route four are often seen veering off the road or encroaching the oncoming lane because 11 of 36 of the road's curves are deficient according to his review.

Because he's only been chief engineer for a few months, he admitted he had no knowledge that a 2005 supplemental environmental impact statement specifies that if Layon is to be selected for a landfill site, road repairs must be made.

If repairs are put off because of GovGuam's financial plan, Slagel's interim recommendations include trimming nearby vegetation so trucks could use the width of the roadway, implement active flashing signs to warn oncoming traffic of the trucks, and continue the use of pilot vehicles. Currently G4S is contracted to serve as escort vehicles for the oversized trucks going in and out of the landfill.

The hearing will continue on Thursday at 8:30am.

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