9-year Isa Drive paving project completed


A nine-year paving project was completed over the weekend with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Department of Public Works officially announced the completion of the third phase of the Isa Drive Cross-Island Road Project last Friday.

Phase 1 of the project started from the San Vicente Church area all the way to the Super Blue Tank in Papago. Phase 2 of the project started from the Super Blue Tank in Papago going into Kagman. Phase 3, which was completed last Friday, began from the New Sara Market area on Capitol Hill all the way to Sadog Tasi.

Route 31, the official name of Isa Drive, is 7.2 miles long.

“It was somewhat a hazardous road with the lack of road shoulders to allow for passing lanes. With the additional passing lanes, road shoulders, and guard rails, we were able to build a safer road,” said Anthony Camacho, DPW Technical Services director.

Phase 3, which was supposed to have been finished in June 2017, stretches for about 2.4 miles and cost about $8 million, said Camacho. He noted that the delays were due to additional repairs such as Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s installation of sewage systems.

“Altogether, Phase 1 to Phase 3 cost about $25 million,” Camacho told Saipan Tribune. The money was obtained from the Federal Highway Administration.

“Route 31…is truly one of the busiest roads on the island. Phase 3 started two years ago under the leadership of [the late] governor Eloy S. Inos, who really prioritized this last phase,” said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres. “This entire project is nine years in the making and now we have a beautiful modern road that alleviates traffic and will be used by folks coming to see their government or visiting families and friends on Capitol Hill, in Kagman, Papago, As Teo, and the east of Saipan.”

With the completion of Phase 3, Camacho said DPW is now ready to move on to other road projects, such as Route 36 from Talofofo to Kingfisher, all the way back to Bird Island and Route 302 from Dandan to the airport back side going to Obyan Beach.

Camacho added that a request for proposal on Route 10 on Rota has already been announced. Route 10 starts from the Rota airport all the way to the Songsong village area, which stretches for about nine miles.

Camacho noted that the Route 36 and Route 302 projects would be a repaving project similar to the Isa Drive project. He disclosed that Route 36 currently has a sole bidder for the project amounting to about $30 million while Route 302 is estimated at about $4.5 million.

Route 10 on Rota, according to Camacho, would be more of a hazard-elimination project. This project would also include the installation of road signs, roadway markings, and spot repairs.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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