(Saipan) -- After nearly 20 years of planning and addressing strict federal and local environmental and historical requirements, the CNMI Department of Public Works is now set to break ground on construction of Route 36, commonly known as Windward Road and Chalan Kalabera by mid-February 2019.
The project involves the construction of approximately 3.7 miles of all-weather roadway along the Talofofo area on the Northern Coast of Saipan.
The project begins at the end of existing paved road just past the entrance to the Kingfisher Golf Course and extends to the Bird Island Lookout having a distance of about 3.70 miles.
Appropriations for the project was first awarded in 2003. The project began to take a wider course with local and federal clearances. By 2011, DPW, initiated all plans for Right of Ways, Design and Construction.
The project design phase-related scope of work included land surveying, soils investigation, road structural section design, drainage crossing structural design, roadside drainage improvements which provide integrated storm water management which includes conveyance systems, retention and/or basins and final disposal works, utility adjustments, permits and other ancillary services required for a complete engineering design.
Construction Management for Route 36 was awarded to GHD Inc. The Notice to Proceed was issued on the 18th of October, 2016.
GHD, as the construction manager, will provide field engineering services relating to the field observation, testing, coordination, and quality/quantity compliance monitoring for the construction of the Route 36 Road Improvement Project.
Bidding commenced in 2017 with Guam based contractor-Black Micro Corp. coming ahead of the bid. Within the year 2018, Federal Highway Administration initiated the approval to begin ground-breaking by February of 2019.
The total project funding breakdown for the construction phase amounts to $30.8 million.
The improvements include 12 and 11 feet wide travel lanes, 4.50 feet wide shoulders/bike lane on each side, roadside and road drainage crossings, permanent traffic markers and signs, box culverts at Unai Fanhang and Unai Nanasu crossings, and other roadway appurtenances for a complete, usable, and safe link between the north and central parts of Saipan.
Public Works Secretary James A. Ada noted that this project as a major achievement for the people of the Marianas.
“The goal from the very beginning was to finally have a roadway that gave inclusion to opportunity,” Ada said. “A new place paved for sightseeing, home development, agriculture, and business investments. Gov. Torres, Lt. Gov. Palacios, our leadership, and DPW, without a doubt, is spearheading a new vision for the Commonwealth. After addressing many of the federal and local requirements over the last four years, I am excited this project will break ground soon. I commend our Director of Technical Services Division Anthony Camacho, Highway Administrator Ms. Lorraine M. Seman and her staff and to all that put their extra effort, time and energy. I thank as well, the Federal Highway Region IX Administrator, Mr. Ralph Rizzo, Ms. Richelle Takara and most especially Ms. Borris Boday for taking the lead for the Region Headquarters.”
“Roads connect people and ideas, and new infrastructure welcomes new opportunities for economic opportunities for our residents,” Torres said. “This project is both exciting and beneficial for our community as a whole. As one of many road improvements, this project will alleviate traffic, which is a key priority. This will help our community not only make their daily commutes easier, but also provide a new scenic feature to our island that is also environmentally friendly.”
“DPW is on the road again as we carefully set the course of development for the Commonwealth,” Palacios said. “Rebuilding requires good governance and careful planning and use of our limited resources. This project will be a great addition to our highway system.