Event Date:
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 12:00am

Written by Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno, Pacific Daily News

Phase One: Jomar Banayat, top left, digs a hole for a new fence post as fellow worker Jimmy David prepares to clear debris at the Tiyan Parkway construction site along Route 8 on April 7. According to project coordinator Frances Pimentel, this phase of the Tiyan Parkway project will extend the fenceline toward Route 8, while closing down the interior section of the road from Maite to Barrigada. Pimentel expects this phase to be completed by the end of the month. Mark Scott/Pacific Daily News/[email protected]

Completion of the first phase of Route 20, also known as Tiyan Parkway, is expected by mid-next month, a representative for the construction contractor said yesterday.

The project is close to 85-percent complete, but the discovery of a water line along the project area, where the new road will connect to Sunset Boulevard, and other unforeseen utility issues, delayed the completion date slightly, said Todd Pike, director of operations on Guam for the contractor. IMCO General Construction, which is based in Washington state, is the construction contractor.

The contractor is working with Guam Waterworks Authority on a design plan to move the water line from the path of the new road, Pike said.

The project broke ground in April last year, and GovGuam wanted it completed in less than a year, Pacific Daily News files show.

The project had a completion goal of March 2015, but Department of Public Works Director Glenn Leon Guerrero said rain and other factors caused the project's time line to spill over into this month.

He said he remains hopeful the project would be finished soon.

Pressure to open road

The government of Guam faces pressure to open the new road because the current access from Route 8 to Airport Road must close to meet federal airport safety requirements.

The main access through Tiyan ---- Central Avenue -- must be closed to provide an adequate safety perimeter for the A.B. Won Pat International Airport Authority Guam's expanded runway. The airport agency faces losing federal funds if the closure of Central Avenue, which has been delayed for years, gets delayed further.

Route 20 begins at a new intersection and traffic light across from the CarsPlus vehicle dealership in Maite.

Most of the paving is complete, and some of the tasks that remain include connecting the new road to Sunset Boulevard near where the former Guam police headquarters building once stood. The new lanes also have yet to be striped.

The construction project, which costs more than $7 million is GovGuam's first major built-from-scratch road project in years, said former DPW Director Carl Dominguez, who was in charge when the project began last year.

The Federal Aviation Administration had initially wanted Central Avenue closed by December 2013, but the government of Guam asked the FAA for an extension to build the alternative route.

More than 14,000 vehicles traverse through Tiyan between Route 8 and Airport Road during weekdays, Pacific Daily News files show.

Sen. Tom Ada, chairman of the legislative infrastructure committee, said considering the host of construction challenges contractors face on Guam, including bad weather and unknown underground utility lines and infrastructure, the project has shown significant progress.

"I think the fact the project is well under way demonstrates to the FAA that road is going to open and we will be able to shut down the existing road," Ada said.

The second phase of Tiyan Parkway is planned to connect with the traffic light on Airport Road at The Home Depot entrance.

There's no target date for when the second phase could start. Leon Guerrero said he may have a better timeline after a meeting with federal highway authorities later this week.

Federal funds paid for the first phase of the Tiyan Parkway construction.

The Legislature authorized a bond-borrowing to fund the second phase of Tiyan Parkway, which has been expected to cost between $31 million and $35 million, previous GovGuam documents show.

The proposed bond would pledge part of Guam's share of annual federal funding for road projects, which amounted to about $18 million a year, Ada said.

The future availability of such federal funds has become uncertain, so it's unclear if GovGuam can proceed with the bond, Ada said.