Guam - Plans are underway to construct an access road to Jinapsan. The area is surrounded by military property, so accessibility isn't easy.  Nonetheless, landowners are excited that plans are finally coming to fruition. 

It's been decades and landowners at Jinapsan have been hoping for better access to their property, which is located in Andersen Air Force Base in Yigo. After years of fighting to have an access road built, efforts are underway to construct one. Public comments are being accepted on an environmental assessment that examines the potential environmental impacts of alternatives being considered.

The Castro family owns land at Jinapsan. Senator Tom Ada, a second-generation landowner, says the federal courts issued a decision back in 1963 and funds for the project were appropriated in 2005.  "Right now, the family just wants to be able to access their property on the weekend without having to sacrifice a four wheel drive every year just to get through there," he explained.

The area has been relatively inaccessible for these families. Senator Ada says the access road will make it much easier to get there. The road is going to be located at the end of the Tarague Beach parking lot. The Government of Guam owns that area. For the past several years, families have been working with Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo.

"Initially, she was pushing to try and get access from the Ritidian side (the West side) through the cliffline, but we found that really that project would cost $15 million. Congress only appropriated $3 million."

Department of Public Works Deputy Director Jess Garcia says a public meeting is scheduled for next week at the Barrigada Mayor's Office for residents to provide public comment on the matter.  "It's just the environmental assessment comments," he noted.  "The public is welcome to come and make comments on what they think of the assessment that was made."

Public Works is proposing to use federal highway funds to construct a one-lane, 12' wide reinforced concrete road, which would provide two-way access from GovGuam property adjacent to Tarague Beach Road on Andersen Air Force Base to Jinapsan. Senator Ada expects that regulatory agencies will be on hand to discuss archeological impacts and issues dealing with marine life.

He said, "I think the report will show that there's not going to be any significant impact and where they might be an impact, then mitigation will be outlined in that study."

He says a lot of measures are being taken to really preserve the environment, at the same time providing landowners with some degree of access. He says for years, families have been forced to use four-wheel vehicles to get into the private land, adding, "It appears that probably after this public hearing, and all the other processing that needs to go through, we probably won't see this road being constructed until maybe sometime in 2012."

The public meeting is scheduled for June 16 from 6-8pm at the Barrigada Community Center.