Potholes are getting bigger, deeper and more dangerous
Rep. Larry Sanitoa’s latest letter to the Department of Public Works seeking updates on some road projects as well as outstanding payment to local contractor McConnell Dowell has resulted in an update from Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, whose office was later sent a copy of the letter.
Since the early part of last year, Sanitoa had sent and continued to send official letters and e-mail inquiries to DPW on several projects, especially those in the Tualauta county because certain areas, such as Fagaima and Ottoville routinely become flooded when there is uninterrupted rain.
It was revealed in Sanitoa’s letter in late November that ASG owes McConnell Dowell about $150,000 for one of the resurfacing road projects.
SANITOA’S NEW LETTER
Sanitoa’s latest letter on Monday asked DPW acting director Faleosina Voight for an update on the DPW Maintenance Plan, saying that the $300,0000 vacuum truck purchased by ASG last year was to help maintain and clean existing drainages.
“Unfortunately, many problem sites like the Mormon River, Hope House, Cost U Less, Happy Valley Drainage and a few others are still a hazardous problem for commuters with constant flooding due to blockage of drainage,” he said.
He also sought an update status of the current Airport Road project, saying that there has been no progress seen on the road since the Notice of Proceed was issued late last year.
He also wanted to know if DPW plans to obtain Hot Mix or Cold Mix anytime soon, saying that the “pot hole riddled roads in Tualauta and many other areas throughout the island are beyond nuisance and becoming more a perilous and hazardous condition that the general public is subjected to contend with every day.”
Sanitoa plans to raise these issues when the new Legislature convenes next week.
On Wednesday, the Governor’s Office — via e-mail — informed Sanitoa that Lolo met with Voight last Friday “because the governor was very concerned with the deplorable state of our roads.”
The governor asked Voight for her road maintenance plans and major road projects. While the report is forthcoming, the governor instructed Voight “to complete the loop starting with Pava'ia'i, Ili'ili, and to the Airport [roads]” as this “is priority” and the airport road project “should be accelerated,” according to the governor’s office.
The governor has also instructed Voight and the Treasury Department to prepare a payment plan for the $150,000 owed to McConnell Dowell and this is for the Futiga resurfacing road project. “The company is hesitant to sell Hot Mix to the Government if this debt is not addressed,” the e-mail states.
With more rain in the last two days, Sanitoa said that his email and phone are again being bombarded with requests from residents in Tualauta county for help with the road potholes, which are getting larger due to the rain.
Sanitoa is keeping in contact with DPW and McConnell Dowell on what can be done in the short term to at least provide some temporary solution to the potholes as they get larger, deeper and more dangerous.