‘Experts, specialists, engineers hired to assist with federal projects’


The Infrastructure and Recovery Program has hired several experts and specialists that are now assisting with many government agencies on various federally-funded projects, according to IRP coordinator Marianne Concepcion-Teregeyo.

In an interview last Tuesday during the Coastal Construction Training at Aqua Resort Club, Concepcion-Teregeyo said right now they have two biologists and one endangered species specialist for their biology team, plus two archeologists, one Section 106 coordinator, and one anthropologist. Section 106 is a component of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and requires identification and assessment a federal agency’s actions and its effects on historic buildings.

She said they also have an engineer, inspectors, and are going to hire independent engineers.

IRP hosted the Coastal Construction Training, with support from Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Building Science, Mitigation Assessment Team.

Concepcion-Teregeyo said they’re we’re working on the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s wastewater projects right now and also working with the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s expansion project.

She said they have been directed to assist with the Marpi public cemetery project and also to assist with the Northern Islands’ water and waste water catchment systems.

“So there’s a lot of projects that we’re now doing…because we have our subject-matter experts,” she said.

She said they’re preparing and assisting other agencies for their projects such as the Oleai Road Project, where their archeology team is assisting the Northern Marianas Housing Corp. and the Historic Preservation Office. Concepcion-Teregeyo said she heard of a report that intact human remains were was found at the Oleai Road Project so their archeologist is at the site for assistance.

In the case of the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., she said they are hoping to begin the wastewater and water construction for the As Gonno homestead subdivision. She said their target is by May 2022 to break ground on that water and wastewater project. She said the Department of Public Lands has completed the design but there was an additional request to pull in the water line and the wastewater from the primary line all the way into the lots.

Concepcion-Teregeyo said she believes that DPL is getting ready to issue those homestead lots. She said the big component is to ensure that the water and wastewater lines are ready.

Right now, Concepcion-Teregeyo said, they are all working on permitting and just getting these things moving. “But by next year, we’re sure that we’re going to start to see [this project get off the] ground,” she said.

She said May is their conservative projection for the As Gonno homestead project, but they’re actually hoping to do it by March or April. Concepcion-Teregeyo said their chief engineer, Mariano Iglecias, is working with DPL’s engineer and CUC’s chief engineer, Larry Manacop.

“We want to get the As Gonno infrastructure project going,” she said.

Concepcion-Teregeyo said they also went to Rota and Tinian with the FEMA team where they met with the mayors and their teams.

“We offered them the same thing: What kind of trainings they need and what kind of help they need,” she said.

She said they have the archaeologist and biologists and if Tinian and Rota have permits that need execution, their team will help them.

Concepcion-Teregeyo clarified that IRP is not handling $1 billion worth of projects since they only work on designated projects as outlined in Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ directive on IRP. “So whatever projects are designated to us from the Office of the Governor, that’s our first mission,” she said.

The coordinator said right now they’re working on the American Rescue Plan Act projects. She said the CNMI received $583 million for ARPA, but every payroll also uses a portion of that ARPA money.

Concepcion-Teregeyo said the infrastructure money that was put in on the governor’s spending plan, that’s what they’re using. She said they’re using the $83 million for DPL’s homestead infrastructure.

She said ARPA cannot pay for power so they’re just doing water and wastewater project.

She said they are working and meeting weekly with CUC, the Department of Public Works, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., and FEMA Interagency Recovery Coordination.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.