The Department of Public Works is seeking the public’s patience and understanding as they work double time to address flooded areas on the island yesterday, like the one at Coral Tree Avenue.
Coral Tree Avenue is located in the heart of the Garapan tourist district and is the road that leads to the construction site of the Imperial Pacific Resort and other business establishments.
Typhoon Cimaron caused massive flooding in some areas of the island, including an almost knee-deep flood right in front of the still-to-be-finished casino resort in Garapan.
The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. said last year that the drainage pipes in Garapan were put in place decades ago, with some built during World War II. They said replacing them would need a significant amount of funding.
DPW Secretary James Ada told Saipan Tribune that there are procedures to be followed—like getting clearance from the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality—before opening the drainage system in Garapan.
“We waited for BECQ’s clearance, then that’s when we opened the drainage and then let the water go out to the ocean. We were working since yesterday morning at 8am and ended up at around 8pm. We’ve been also working [since yesterday] morning,” said Ada. “We’re monitoring all the drainages on the island. That’s why we’re asking for the people’s patience and understanding. This is not an overnight thing. We’re trying our best everyday just to work on a lot of issues.”
DPW even responded to a CNMI Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management call to remove debris. “We were able to remove the big log in front of Triple J Motors with the help of the Saipan Mayor’s Office staff.”
Ada said they are coordinating with other agencies like the Saipan Mayor’s Office. “I acknowledge the DPW team that goes out on the street patching up potholes.”
“Thank you also to the Mayor’s Office for helping out in clearing the drainage system and cleaning the debris. We were able to remove all [debris] and let the water go straight out to the ocean.”
He said a project is already in the planning stages to improve the Garapan tourist district drainage. “There’s a plan with the drainage system that would be improved, along with the traffic in the area. So I ask people to please be patient because we’re trying our very best.”
Ada added that once the project to improve Garapan is done, the district, including Coral Tree Avenue, would have a better drainage system.
CNMI Homeland is also working with DPW to identify flood prone areas.