Frustration mounts over road closure program

The roadblocks went into effect on April 11 at four different locations. They have led to traffic backups and aggravated motorists. (Photo by PNC Chief Photographer Allan Balbin)

Set up across the island to limit traffic flow and encourage residents to stay home, the road closures have drawn mixed reactions from the community.

PNC spoke with one man whose company provides essential services to the island. He passed through one of the road closure points and says that the road closures are more of an impediment than anything else.

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Monty McDowell is the Chief Executive Officer for AMI, a company that provides disinfecting services to the Guam Regional Medical City, Naval Hospital, Big Navy, Andersen Air Force base and local grocery stores such as PayLess.

McDowell drove through this road closure on Saturday to get an idea of how it could affect their operations. He came to the conclusion that: “This entire road closure is certainly not conducive to the real important work we need to accomplish every day.”

McDowell said: “My people have to get to and from work. Having my people stuck in 65 minutes on a slow day is not conducive to getting this island to the place it needs to be to get rid of this COVID-19. On this one lane, they have only one National Guard person. They could have opened all three southbound lanes, had two or three National Guard people.”

McDowell says that while in line for more than an hour, he saw motorists trying to bypass the roughly one hundred cars lined up in bumper to bumper traffic but to no avail. They ended up turning around to line back up or take an alternative route. He also saw ambulances trying to get through the line.

“I saw ambulances and things… looked like they were having a challenge getting through… obviously they were trying to bypass all the traffic but it didn’t look like it was set up well for emergency vehicles … but it was a lesson learned,” McDowell said.

He added: “The Governor wins on this one; she proved she can make this travel so inconvenient that you might as well just stay home.”

He adds that the time spent waiting in line at a road closure is time on the clock for his employees, stressing that the delays only further hamper essential private business owners who are already faced with the challenges of the increased minimum wage.

Meanwhile, without explanation, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero has adjusted the road closure times. The new road closure times are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.