More and more projects are being worked on to bring about a better tomorrow. Check out what’s new with the country’s numerous infrastructure projects and see how they are doing:

Estrella-Pantaleon / Rockwell Bridge on Track to Finish Soon

In Metro Manila news, the DPWH announced last February 03 that the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge (Rockwell Bridge) is nearing completion, stating that the bridge that connects Makati and Mandaluyong together is 78.5% complete. DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said that expanding it into a two-way, four-lane bridge would improve the vehicular movement between the two populated cities of Metro Manila.

Ongoing construction photo from 2020. Photo courtesy of PNA

 “Once fully completed will be able to accommodate around 50,000 vehicles per day”, added Secretary Villar.

The project was initially criticized for both the timing of its closure in 2019 and the fact that the funding came from the People’s Republic of China. However, the DPWH Secretary defended the decision by stating that the undertaking was for the public’s safety.

“We want to do it now because we can anticipate that traffic will not decrease. That will create more stress for the bridge and affect its longevity,” Villar said.

The project had also received flak for having a significant number of Chinese workers in the force back in 2020, though it was argued by the Chinese Embassy and the DPWH that the foreign workers were mostly engineers and project managers with specific technical requirements.

“The engagement here is actually down to the technicalities and the specifications of the materials that will be used for the construction,” a DPWH official said.

The bridge, which was closed last January 2019, and its completion is expected sometime in 2021.

 

Iloilo COVID-19 facilities ready for use

Two COVID-19 facilities in Iloilo City are now ready for use, according to the DPWH last February 1, 2021. It boasts sixteen air-conditioned rooms, each having one bed and one comfort room. Meanwhile, the accompanying off-site dormitory for the frontliners can accommodate a total of 32 healthcare workers. This comes with a kitchen, a dining room, a  laundry room, and sanitation facilities.

The DPWH also stated that they would turn over five more (Lapaz, Sta Barbara, Lumbunao, Pototan, and Barotac Nuevo) to Iloilo’s local government units within the first quarter.

Photo courtesy of the DPWH

 

Samal-Davao Connector Bridge Project has begun construction

Announced last January 15, the DPWH and China Road and Bridge Corp. have signed a P19.32-billion design and build contract for the 3.98-kilometer Samal Island to Davao City Connector project.

Plans to build the connector bridge was first announced back in March 2020. It had previously faced opposition from concerned stakeholders, stating that the construction of the bridge will cause irreversible damage to the reef it will be built on. DPWH officials held meetings during the 2nd quarter of 2020 to address the environmental concerns and doubts of the project before January 2021.

The bridge will connect the Samal Circumferential Road in Barangay Limao, Samal, to Davao City. Villar stated that the implementation of the toll-free four-lane bridge will significantly improve mobility and bring down travel time of around 25,000 daily motorists to  two to five minutes between Davao City in Davao del Sur and Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte.

Bridge believed to help transport and tourism. Photo courtesy of Sunstar

 

Mindanao Development Authority Seeks to Protect Heritage Trees from Road Projects

The future is looking green for the next generation of Mindanaoans, but only time will tell. The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is seeking the passage of the proposed Heritage Tree Act, a law that would encourage sustainable development by protecting centuries-old trees not just in Mindanao but the entire country.

The MinDA resolution, presented by Board Member Sherwin Mylil Begyan in a previous board meeting, was developed as a response to a controversy involving an attempted felling of a 300-year-old towering Toog Tree by infrastructure developers in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, to give way to a road widening endeavour.

The 300 year old Toog Tree. Photo courtesy of Mindanao News

Many residents have made efforts to prevent the cutting of honored heritage trees, including retired public works engineer Mauro Bravo, who formed the Save The Toog Tree Please (STOP) Advocacy group for this specific undertaking. The group had successfully prevented two cutting attempts in the past. The trees themselves are believed to provide both environmental and socio-economic benefits to their surrounding areas.

Cavite Provincial Government drops $10-billion airport deal

The Sangley Point International Airport project will have to wait. The Cavite provincial government announced last January 27 that it had dropped the $10-billion airport deal with China Communication Construction Co. and MacroAsia Corp.

Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla told reporters that the cancellation was due to the company’s failure to submit post-award requirements despite the multiple extensions that were given as a result of the pandemic crisis. He took it as a sign that they were not fully committed to the project.

However, Remulla believed that the airport is still essential for the country, and that they would rebid the project in the hopes of awarding it before the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy in October.

 

Isabela Road Widening Project 

The DPWH has now begun work on the P32.4-million road project in Quirino, Isabela, with the goal of increasing the overall road capacity for more comfortable transport of agriculture products.

“The off-carriageway improvement is making headway towards its target completion date to make sure the construction will not prolong the inconvenience being experienced by the traveling public since the road section is linked to the northwestern boundary of Isabela, particularly Santiago City, one of the most populated cities in the Region,” shared Villar said last Febuary 01.

The road improvement is part of a multi-year project with a total allocation of P41.5 million, with the remaining budget to cover the construction of gutter and drainage structures to support the road.

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