The Department of Public Works broke ground on four road-paving projects in Precinct 5, starting with Chopak Drive in Kagman III yesterday that was attended by Lt. Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, lawmakers, government officials, and community members.
Aside from Chopak Drive, the three other roads that will finally be paved are Pine Drive and Mangga Street in Kagman III and Katbun Road in San Vicente.
The funding for the road paving in Kagman III and San Vicente was made possible after Gov. Eloy S. Inos signed a local law in July 2014 appropriating more than $2.17 million in bond funds for Saipan projects. Of the $2.17 million, $600,000 went to Precinct 5 road paving.
Since the first issuance of homesteads in Kagman III in December 1993, roads in phases 3 and 4 of the village had little or no paved roads, causing residents and motorists a decade of negotiating dilapidated roads.
Twenty-two years later, Kagman III will finally see actual groundwork on three of its roads with one other road paving in San Vicente.
In his remarks Torres said the road paving is long overdue but the Inos administration is ready to move forward with identifying funds for the rest of the road paving.
“I would like to congratulate DPW and Precinct 5 representatives, [Rep. Lorenzo] Deleon Guerrrero (Ind-Saipan) and [Rep. Francis S.] Taimanao (Ind-Saipan) in their continued effort to fight for paved roads and those contributed one way or another,” Torres said.
“For Hawaiian Rock, we have a lot of projects ahead of us and would like to ask for their continued support to work with our agencies as we move forward. This is a big project for Kagman III and I hope that we have more revenue allocated to address the roads here,” he added.
DPW acting secretary James Ada said the road paving is finally starting after many unsuccessful efforts in the past.
“Fifteen years ago, when I was a director for roads and ground for DPW, my staff had to fix these roads and it is about time for Kagman residents to be proud of it,” Ada said.
Hawaiian Rock president Jerrold C. Johnson said they are happy to be awarded the project and are ready to start.
“We’re just finishing up the cross-island road so we got the people available and our CNMI manager, Ponciano P. Corotan, assured me that he can finish this project very quickly and painlessly for the residents,” Johnson said. “That is what our goal is, to come and finish it.”
Corotan noted that they received the notice to proceed in February and, as soon as they have the people, they will mobilize the project.
“We’re looking around next week and mobilize a few guys to start doing the clearing,” Corotan said.
Luis Pangelinan, a Kagman resident for 10 years, said that times like these is when they see at least a little being done for Kagman III.
“Hopefully we’ll see more projects here and I know funding is the problem. It’s better than nothing and we’ll see little at a time and I guess we’ll be happy in the end,” he said.
Joshua Mikel, another Kagman resident for 19 years, said he was very happy to see that the road will now be paved.
Deleon Guerrero said that he will continue to work with his colleagues to identify funds for other road-paving projects in the precinct, including in Kannat Tabla.
“We want to make everyone happy. There’s not so much we can do without the funding so we will work on this,” Deleon Guerrero said.
Aside from the road paving in Kagman III, Deleon Guerrero said Kagman IV residents also needs a water line. He said he doesn’t know where the people living there get their water from.
“I hope they can consider funding for that as well, including other areas of Kagman that needs to be addressed,” he said.