DPWH-NegOr fast-tracking projects up to 2021
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Negros Oriental is fast-tracking several projects involving the widening of roads and bridges, in line with the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program.
Several projects are already underway for the Calendar Year (CY) 2018-2019 while others are already being implemented through 2022 before the President’s term ends.
Joven M. Calabia, District Engineer of the DPWH 2nd district, told various stakeholders during a coordination meeting held here recently that the bulk of the projects are usually road widening.
Calabia, who assumed office in April 2018 here, said that the DPWH is mandated to undertake the design, construction and maintenance of roads and bridges.
“We have several projects to have our national roads within the 2nd district of Negros Oriental widened before 2022,” he said. “In the succeeding years, will go full blast in terms of number to reach that goal.”
Calabia admitted that in the implementation of these projects, certain structures and properties will be affected by the widening.
Nevertheless, he is hopeful that people will understand, cooperate, and appreciate the need to widen roads from two lanes to four lanes, considering that the increasing volume of traffic.
In Negros Oriental, the DPWH has three engineering districts, whose areas of coverage are exactly the same as the way the province is divided into congressional districts.
The 1st Engineering District covers the towns and cities from Manjuyod to Canlaon City in the north, the 2nd Engineering District from Mabinay to Dumaguete City, and the 3rd Engineering District from Valencia all the way to Basay in the south, said Engr. Lei Mei Singson, 2nd District Public Information Officer.
Under the Build, Build, Build program, the DPWH districts are working double time in converting roads and bridges from the present two-lane to four lanes to catch up with other areas in the region.
Engineer Marilyn Fulmaran disclosed during the stakeholders’ consultation that Region 7 is lagging behind among the regions in the country.
In Region 7, the province of Negros Oriental ranks second among those having two-lane roads, while other provinces already have six-lane roads.
Roads and bridge widening projects
For CY 2018, available records show that the 2nd Engineering District had a programmed amount of more than PHP2.135 billion for various infrastructure and other projects in its area of coverage.
The infrastructure program included preventive maintenance, rehabilitation/upgrading, construction of national roads, upgrading, rehabilitation of drainage, road widening, construction of by-pass and diversion roads, paving of unpaved roads, rehabilitation and major repair of permanent bridges, widening of permanent bridges, construction and maintenance of flood mitigation structures and drainage systems, water supply and multi-purpose facilities, and construction of access roads, among others.
Also undertaken last year outside of the infrastructure program were farm-to-market roads, basic educational facilities, and sugar farm-to-mill road projects.
All 163 projects were 100 percent completed in the past year.
For CY 2019 to 2020, the office’s programmed amount for 90 projects is pegged at more than PHP1 billion, records show.
These will cover road and bridge widening projects, rehabilitation and upgrading of roads, construction of by-pass and diversion roads, flood mitigation structures and drainage systems, roads leading to declared tourism destinations, buildings and other multi-purpose structures and facilities, and basic education facilities, among others.
Many of the projects are now ongoing and are hoped to be completed on target by the end of year, according to Singson.
Four major ongoing bridge-widening projects that are worthy to note are the Lalaan Bridge, Panambalon Bridge, Amlan Bridge, and Buswang Bridge, all leading from this city to Kabankalan City in Negros Occidental.
Road and bridge widening projects, meanwhile, include the Metro Dumaguete by-pass and diversion roads, which is targeted for widening from the existing two-lane to four lanes from the Junob junction to the Cantile-Bajumpandan junction; the Bais by-pass and diversion road and right of way, and the Dumaguete North Road (Dumaguete-Bais-Kabankalan) to name a few.
Another interesting project that is being jointly undertaken by the three DPWH engineering districts, meanwhile, is the so-called Bacolod-Dumaguete-Bayawan Priority Corridor.
This connects Bacolod City in Negros Occidental to Negros Oriental with a total length of 408.958 kilometers, and is seen to boost trade and industry, economy, and tourism of both provinces.
Right of way problems
One of the problems that hamper these road and bridge widening projects is the issue on the right of way, Fulmaran said.
The DPWH is asking the cooperation and support of the people, to open their minds and welcome these projects, because while the traffic problem is still manageable today, in five to 10 years, it is expected to increase and without widened roads, it will become a problem.
There is still much to be done in the coming years leading up to 2021 and hopefully by next year, “we can convince people to support us” in terms of the acquisition right of ways, Fulmaran said.
“We understand it’s not easy for the affected owners but sometimes we have to sacrifice” so that these projects that will benefit everybody will be realized, she added.