The Commonwealth Ports Authority, in collaboration with the Department of Public Works, has finally broken ground on the long-awaited Route 323 Industrial Drive road improvement project.
CPA and DPW officials, joined by CNMI government officials, broke ground Thursday on the long overdue road improvement project on Route 323.
Route 323, or Industrial Drive, is the strip of road stretching from behind the Army Reserve to the CNMI Seaport. The anticipated completion date of the project is May 31, 2023.
According to CPA board chair Kimberlyn King-Hinds, the project has been a long awaited one. “This project has been on CPA’s to-do list for decades and the only reason why we are able to do this is because we have community stakeholders and industry partners who joined with us to make this day a reality,” she said.
King-Hinds said this project is a good example of public and private industries coming together to accomplish a task.
“I want to especially recognize our partners at Saipan Stevedore who committed to funding this public benefit project as part of their lease negotiations with CPA. Their contribution, together with funds from the casino, appropriated by the 20th and 21st SNILD, has allowed CPA and DPW, with the support of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, to move forward with this project. This project is a great example of what we as a community can accomplish when we are working together,” she said.
The CPA chair said the Route 323 project aims to improve the quality of life for members of the community.
“We are not just making improvements to a road. We are improving the quality of life for the people here in our community. A better road means better access to our seaport for all our port users, a safe public space for our people to walk, jog or bike; a road that our veterans and men and women in uniform can be proud of when they’re on their way to training or heading to the PX to pick up some essentials; an enhancement to this area in general complimenting the beauty that is Inos Park where many of our families and tourists go to enjoy breathtaking views of the sunset, to picnic, to exercise or practice self-care,” she said.
In addition, this road improvement project also ties in to the CNMI’s recovering tourism economy, she said, as the renovations will provide a good first impression for visitors who dock at the CNMI seaport.
“It also means that when any visitor docks and leave this port, we are making a good first impression critical to the growth of our tourism industry, the lifeblood of our economy. This is what the fight is all about. We can’t make the critical investments in our healthcare system, our schools, our utilities, ensure continued 100% payment to our retirees, without a thriving, sustainable economy. Projects like this tangibly contribute to that growth and directly serve to improve our quality of life. This is what we are celebrating today and I thank all of you for making it happen,” she said.