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Snails delay Ylig bridge project

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A REPORT submitted yesterday to the District Court of Guam by the Department of Public Works cites a new projected completion date for the reconstruction of the Ylig Bridge in Yona. The new date pushes the project back five months – from September 2010 to February 2011.

The bridge upgrade is an essential component of the new landfill being constructed in Layon under the federal government’s consent decree for the closure of Ordot Dump. The bridge needs major reinforcement to be able to support garbage trucks that will travel from other parts of the island to the new landfill.

The snail’s pace of the project is blamed on a colony of endangered partula radiolata – or tree snails.

Akaleha, as they are called in Chamorro, are endemic to Guam. The colony of slimy crawlers is about 150 strong and will require relocation before the bridge overhaul can be completed.

In the report provided to DPW by the Department of Agriculture, Director Paul Bassler refers to mitigation plans that would require the acquisition of abutting private lands for the construction of a temporary by-pass bridge as “not feasible at the present time.” The report was generated by the engineering firm Duenas, Camacho and Associates.

The native snail species has been classified as endangered since 1995.  The snails can grow up to seven or eight inches long. They primarily thrive on vegetation.

In the report, some suggestions for the relocation of the snails include moving them to nearby lots; however, the properties are privately owned and the landowners would have to be notified in order to gain permission to transfer the creatures to those spots.

Other solutions considered include relocating the colony further north to the Hilaan or Lost Pond site in Harmon Annex. Another site under deliberation is the Masso reservoir in Piti.

Additional concerns raised were that archaeological discoveries unearthed in the immediate area of the construction site in Yona included a potential latte site.

The subject of the snails and other issues pertaining to the consent decree and the construction of the new landfill will be heard today before District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood at 9 a.m.


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