Saturday, November 21, 2009

Military to increase road capacity

Military to increase road capacity

By Brett Kelman • Pacific Daily News • November 21, 2009

Main roads in Yigo and Dededo will be widened and strengthened in the next few years, or the population boom caused by the coming military buildup would create traffic congestion that would clog the northern half of Guam.

According to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement released yesterday, the military expects to increase the capacity of many roads so more motorists and heavy military vehicles can maneuver with ease. For example:

•Route 3, which splits from Marine Corps Drive in Dededo and stretches to the northwest corner of the island, must be widened from two to four lanes;

•Route 9, which snakes from the Ritidian area to Andersen Air Force Base, must be widened from two to four lanes; and

•Parts of Route 16, which narrows from the airport overpass to Barrigada and provides an alternative route from north to south, must be widened from four to six lanes.

These are just some of the 49 off-base roadway improvements proposed in the preferred solution to traffic congestion provided in the draft EIS.

The projects include eight roads that must be widened, five bridges that must be replaced, one brand-new road and road strengthening all over the island -- including Marine Corps Drive.

According to projected traffic maps provided in the draft EIS, the improvements could prevent Guam from being paralyzed by traffic congestion.

If nothing is done before 2014, roads in Dededo and Yigo will be flooded with more cars than they were built for day and night. Thoroughfares like Y-Sengsong Road would have nearly as many cars on it as it should, the draft EIS predicts.

But if improvements are made, main roads will be able to handle traffic so motorists won't be forced onto smaller roads to escape congestion.
Paying for it

Although civilians will benefit from outside-the-gate improvements to most roadways, the federal government will pay for much of the projects, according to draft EIS executive summary.

Projects may be funded by the Federal Highway Administration and the Defense Access Road Program, the document states.

"The Defense Access Road Program provides the means for DOD to pay a fair share for public highway improvements required as a result of a sudden or unusual defense-generated traffic impact or unique defense-related public highway requirement," the document states.

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