With the close-out of the Kannat Tabla hazard mitigation assessment phase, the Technical Services Division of the Department of Public Works recently announced $2,796,588 to begin the construction phase of Kannat Tabla road.
According to Public Works Secretary James Ada, the project gained momentum through Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ initiative to form a task force for hazard mitigation soon after the onslaught of Typhoon Soudelor in August 2016.
“We began our work immediately and worked collaboratively with the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., the Department of Public Lands, the Public Assistance Office, and the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality. This is when we really started to piece together all these critical infrastructural improvements and began the process and applied for assistance with [the Federal Emergency management Agency],” Ada said.
Documents for procurement have already been signed by Ada’s office and the project will be advertised in the next week to expedite the ITB process.
Highway engineer Gani Salazar said that after Typhoon Soudelor damaged many roads, the task force was able to secure approval from FEMA on June 26, 2016, to begin Phase One of the project.
“With the completion of Phase One and after the archaeological study was completed, results were put in the media for public comment. With this now completed, we found out that now we can move into the construction phase, which is funded 100 percent through FEMA,” Salazar said, adding that one of the important points of Phase One was establishing the right-of-way positions of residents in the area.
Salazar noted that the long process ensured the accuracy of the project area from Kannat Tabla gardens to the CMS quarry and surrounding low-volume roads.
The benefit-cost analysis, he said, found that the project is a cost-effective benefit of over $18.9 million to the community over time.
Flood Plain administrator Ed Tmarsel added that assessment immediately began throughout the island, with assistance from the Capital Improvement Project office to complete the benefit cost analysis for the Kannat Tabla flood control and drainage project.
Tsmarsel stated that Phase One was an extensive assessment process that included an archaeological study and preliminary engineering designs, surveys and a considerable multi-agency collaborative effort that resulted in the cost-effectiveness and approval of the project.
“Phase One began with a 90/10 cost share with FEMA. Further FEMA cost adjustments for the mitigation portion of the Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation Grant program resulted in a 100/0 cost share. This enabled us to augment our structure by including concrete box culverts to the drainage system,” Tsmarsel said.
Tmarsel further noted that the introduction of box culverts in place of HDPE or plastic pipes on critical sections of the roadway will eliminate erosion of bedding materials caused by groundwater migration to ensure structural stability and lack of settlement.
According to Virginia Villagomez, the governor’s authorized representative the construction phase will significantly decrease environmental and economic impacts.
“Our office facilitated the assistance by encouraging DPW to apply for funding a flood control drainage system in the Kannat Tabla area necessary to mitigate the flooding and erosion during flash floods affecting the residents and the general public. The construction of a drainage system to divert water into an old quarry will reduce and eliminate flash floods and water eroding affecting the residents and the general public along Route 31,” Villagomez said.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres is pleased that the CNMI government will shoulder no expenses under the 404 Hazard Mitigation Grant Program from FEMA.
“I commend DPW, our PA team, and other partner agencies and our Precinct 5 representatives for their diligence in successfully securing this project and moving it into the construction stage. Hazard mitigation has helped us improve our current infrastructure and now this project will address stormwater runoff in the area and issues with the existing quarry and flooding concerns that residents have been waiting for and I ask our community to stay attuned to ongoing developments for the area in regard to this project,” Torres said.
Rep. Francisco C. Aguon (R-Saipan) expressed his excitement to begin the construction phase of Kannat Tabla, noting his appreciation for the task force coming together and pushing the project through.
“I met with DPW and other agencies to find out the status of this project and I am glad that the road is at the point of being constructed for our constituents. Along with [Rep.] Larry Guerrero, we are excited to see it to completion,” Aguon said.
The project’s scope of work includes collecting stormwater runoff from the road and convey it to an existing quarry where it is expected to infiltrate. The project includes the construction of a 4-foot wide concrete swale to collect runoff and the installation of drainage pipes under the roadway. This also includes the installation of a series of catch basins to direct flows from the roadway into the drainage pipe, the relocation of certain power poles, removal of some vegetation, and adjustment of water lines to mitigate flooding problems, erosion, and run-off and control flash flooding on local roads and properties.
The project has been determined to be categorically excluded from the need to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and current completion date is set for August 5, 2019. (PR)