After months of planning, Gov. Ralph Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold Palacios on Friday announced that road construction will commence this year to improve the transportation needs of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the administration stated in a press release. To advance this priority, the administration has committed to repairing and in some instances enhancing major highways and thoroughfares on Saipan, specifically Beach Road, Chalan Kalabera in Talofofo, and Tun Herman Pan Road (Airport Road) in lower Dandan.
"Seeing the need for improvement of major roads on Saipan, Gov. Torres and Lt. Gov. Palacios assembled a working group of key government personnel to push federal highway projects that would better serve residents' transportation needs and accessibility on roads in need of repair," the administration stated in the release.
"Led by Lt. Gov. Palacios, the Highway Task Force, comprised of civil engineers, planners, and administrators from the Department of Public Works and the Capital Improvement Program Office, streamlined plans and funding through the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Office of Insular Affairs, the Economic Development Administration, and the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief to rebuild roads damaged through disasters, heavy equipment, and natural events such as erosion and stormwater runoff. The need to align both projects and funding sources has been a critical component to this overall effort, ensuring that all federal partners are able to understand the needs of the CNMI as much as those who are doing the 'boots on the ground' work," the release stated.
“Since this administration took office in 2019, Gov. Torres and I were well aware of the concerns made by members of our community regarding the state of our roads. The last two years have been focused so much on typhoon recovery and the COVID-19 pandemic, but in the process, we have been meeting with key federal and local agencies to fix our roads by bringing together subject matter experts familiar with our predicament and gaining the necessary assurances to build stronger, smarter and better, especially Beach Road,” said Lt. Gov. Palacios.