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Guam's infrastructure struggling to keep up

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 by Isa Baza

Guam - Fitness and running have been taking off the past few years with new events blowing up in Guam including the Guam International Marathon and the Guam Koko Run. However, with more runners and cyclists, that means more wear and tear on Guam's roadways and sidewalks.

Despite greater interest in these sports, Guam's infrastructure is struggling to keep up. Tiffany Tam is an avid runner currently training for the Guam International Marathon, and said, "There's certainly poorly lit areas, uneven pavement, including uncovered holes and protruding objects."

These compounding issues are not only a nuisance, but often result in injuries. "There's certainly a couple times that we've tripped, actually on Saturday morning my friend tripped and grazed his hands and knees," she added. "It was uneven and so he tripped, I tripped once, and another friend tripped as well, stubbed my toe a little bit."

Department of Public Works director Glenn Leon Guerrero says he is aware of the issue. He said with new road improvements his agency continues to install sidewalks in high traffic areas, and that with budgetary restrictions being the greatest challenge, his department continues to look for alternative funding sources. "As we speak, we actually got a federal grant, we've done five projects, and the last project we're working on is around GW High School we're actually putting sidewalks along that," he said.

While DPW is putting in new sidewalks, however, funding to fix existing sidewalks is limited and often take the back burner to roadway improvements. With sports tourism a growing market in Guam, however, Tam feels that sidewalks should be more prioritized. She explained, "Now that the runner's community is getting bigger, and more people are getting active, roads and pavements have been repaired."

The director says he is aware that more needs to be done and will work to try to get this issue addressed. 

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