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FEMA review of Fagaima Drainage project encounters more significant delays

Potholes on the Fagaima road
Don’t look too soon for permanent fix for the potholes in this area


by Fili Sagapolutele

Samoa News Correspondent

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has requested additional information following a virtual meeting late last month with ASG officials on the Environmental Historic Preservation (EHP) review of the Hazard Mitigation application for the Fagaima Drainage project application.

Two months ago, Office of Disaster Assistance and Petroleum Management (ODAPM) State Hazard Mitigation Officer, Lima Fiatoa informed Tualauta Rep. Larry Sanitoa that the Fagaima Drainage project application is currently undergoing an EHP review at the FEMA Region IX office.

“Unfortunately, due to the numerous fires in the State of California and COVID-19, there have been significant delays in the EHP review process,” said Fiatoa who was responding to Rep. Sanitoa’s request for update information.

Earlier this week, Sanitoa sought an update, as potholes — many of them large — were seen on Fagaima road following days of heavy rain.  And despite the potholes — several of them close together making driving difficult — the Fagaima Road is still busy with traffic.

Fiatoa responded yesterday telling Sanitoa that on Nov. 29th, he and Public Works Department had their “Kick-Off - virtual” review meeting with the FEMA Region IX Mitigation team as well as the environmental historic preservation consultants that are assigned to the Fagaima project.

“This is the last review process before grant determination is made.  FEMA has requested additional items to be submitted and DPW is in the process of gathering the information to be submitted,” Fiatoa explained.

“Unfortunately, that is the current status of the Fagaima Drainage but the meeting went well and we are hopeful for a favorable outcome in the coming months,” he said and suggested that a “temporary solution may need to be discussed until Fagaima Drainage is approved.”

Sanitoa — in response — thanked Fiatoa “for all of the great work in pushing this critical project for our district.” According to the Tualauta faipule, this latest update “will be shared with residents and motorists who are constantly requesting an update on the status of the Fagaima drainage and road project.”

“We remain hopeful on some positive news soon from FEMA to finally address this long standing nightmare for our residents and motorists,” Sanitoa said, noting that “we will continue to work with DPW and the contractor to temporarily repave the potholes and other dangerous sections of the Fagaima road.”

Sanitoa on Monday this week requested DPW's help to repair several very big and dangerous potholes throughout the Fagaima Road. “Unfortunately, all of these serious and dangerous potholes were road sections that were permanently repaired several times over by the contractor in the past,” he wrote to DPW.

Understanding the current weather conditions, “perhaps we can look at a temporary solution for now,” he said and also requested an update DPW on the status of the Vacuum Truck, which is down in need of repairs, while other roads — following continuing heavy downpours — are also facing drainage problems.

Area residents as well as motorists are constantly complaining about the large-deep-potholes now scattered all along the Fagaima Road and some have called on the out-going Administration to find a temporary solution.