The construction of the Tacloban causeway project that will provide a shorter route from the city’s downtown to the airport will commence soon after the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) secured the approval of the city council here, an official said on Thursday.
DPWH Eastern Visayas regional director Edgar Tabacon said the city council lifted its earlier resolution holding the project in abeyance after the agency was able to address the concerns raised by environmental groups by including enhancements to project designs.
“The project will start soon after the city council lifted their earlier resolution holding the project in abeyance. We hope this will be completed within the term of President (Ferdinand) Marcos (Jr.) in time for the opening of the new airport terminal building,” Tabacon told reporters.
He said that from the original 180-meter bridge, the enhancement will double the length of the bridge. Also, several box culverts with three meters in width and height will be added to allow free-water flow.
“With these enhancements, the project will now cost about PHP4 billion from the original PHP3.4 billion. The obligated fund of PHP800 million is just for the first phase,” he added.
Actual civil works were delayed despite the awarding of the contract earlier this year, when some groups and local government officials expressed apprehension over the project citing environmental issues.
The central government approved under the 2022 allocation the release of PHP800 million outlay for the initial implementation of the project. The budget will cover the construction of a 600-meter causeway.
Despite fund availability, the city council committee on the environment recommended last May to put the project on hold as it will affect the water quality of Cancabato Bay as raised by some local environmental groups.
The city council raised concerns almost one year after it passed a resolution on June 8, 2022, expressing support for the project.
In a social media post, Save Kankabatok Advocacy said a reduction in water flow will heavily impact the water quality, with low diversity and disturbed biotic communities.
The first of its kind in Eastern Visayas, the causeway will serve as an alternate route for motorists from the city’s commercial district going to the airport, reducing distance, travel time and vehicle operating costs.
This project involves the construction of a four-lane road embankment that spans about 2.55 kilometers with a bridge at the center. It will also feature separate bike lanes, concrete canals, sidewalks, as well as wave deflectors on both sides.
The causeway will cross Cancabato Bay starting at the city hall complex on Magsaysay Boulevard up to the Kataisan point of the Tacloban Airport in the city’s San Jose District. Travel time will be reduced to only 10 minutes from the current 45 minutes.
The structure will complement the future new airport terminal building designed to accommodate international flights.
Aside from being an alternative highway, the causeway will also shield communities from destructive waves.
The original plan was to build a tide embankment structure, but it was discontinued due to strong opposition by several property owners in the city’s populated coastal communities. By Sarwell Meniano
Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency