Are the other flyovers safe and sound, too?

A Facebook user shared this photo of flooding on the P680-million Ungka flyover between Jaro, Iloilo City and Pavia, Iloilo. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Ayupan)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

With the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-6 regional office saying that the P680-million Ungka flyover that links Iloilo City to Pavia, Iloilo is structurally sound despite “minimal vertical displacement,” motorists and commuters are asking: “What about the other flyover projects?”

Daily Guardian also received reactions and questions from several motorists on when the Ungka flyover will reopen to traffic after DPWH assured that the structure has not suffered engineering distress or woes.

The flyover was closed this week as part of the investigation into the “distress,” “vertical movements” and other structural behavior they observed since the flyover was opened to traffic in June 2022.

The move came after Daily Guardian reported last week on the “wavy” orientation and purported poor workmanship of the over P680-million project facilitated by former Senator Franklin Drilon and undertaken by International Builders Corp (IBC).

DPWH Assistant Regional Director Al Fruto said the one-week closure is for the sake of public safety.

For one, former Iloilo City councilor R Leone Gerochi said he is dumbfounded by DPWH’s pronouncements on the safety of the flyover.

In a Facebook post, Gerochi said the use of the word “minimal displacement” is not so assuring.

“Vertical displacement nga minimal ang hambal ka DPWH. Minimal but sa pag kaintindi ko basta displacement nga word, ini ang may paghulag. Maski ano ka gamay but for a huge structure like the fly over nga maghulag daw naglibog ang ulo ko. Vertical meaning either nagsaka or nag usmod, most probably nag usmod,” he said.

If the flyover is safe, the former councilor said DPWH should now reopen it to ease the monstrous traffic jam in the area.

Gerochi said the true stress test of the flyover is to allow vehicular traffic to find out if there is displacement or movement.

“Safe kuno hambal ka DPWH apang ila ginpasara para wala danay mag agi para ila pa gid obserbaran. Paano mo ma-obserbaran husto ang wala load nga fly over? Indi bala dapat gina stress test mo ini gani para bal-an mo gid kung mahulag or indi?”

While on the surface there are no visible cracks or any signs of distress on the flyover, Gerochi said its structural integrity will remain in question if engineers cannot assure that there are no cracks within or inside its part due to the so-called minimal displacement.

“Is it not proper that DPWH conduct a series of tests or better yet by an independent structural company?” he asked.

On Sunday, photos and videos of flooding on the flyover circulated in the media, fueling more questions about its design and construction.

Facebook user Aaron Ayupan commented in his post on Sunday night “Abi ko fly-over ni. Flood-over gali. (I thought this is a flyover. It’s flood-over).”

Some comments joked that flooding could be the cause of the wavy riding experience of motorists and commuters who pass through the structure.

On Monday, many motorists groaned because of the heavy traffic in the area. One driver said that if the flyover is indeed safe, it should be opened to the public already.

“Why prolong our agony kon safe sya. Allow nila traffic para indi kami magkaramutsing sa traffic,” the driver said.

Other motorists said DPWH must also assure that vertical displacement will not occur in other flyover projects.

“Basi balod-balod (wavy) man ang design sang iban nga flyovers, mabudlay na,” another driver added.

Apart from the Ungka flyover, IBC is also undertaking the 436.90-meter, P560-million Aganan flyover in Pavia town.

Also in the works is the two-lane, 390-linear-meter Jibao-an flyover along the Iloilo Circumferential Road crossing Mandurriao-San Miguel Road in Mandurriao district that has a budget of P 591.2 million and undertaken by AM Oreta-Allencon Joint Venture.

F. Gurrea Construction, Inc. is the contractor of the two-lane Buhang flyover along the Iloilo Circumferential Road crossing Iloilo-Capiz Road (new route) in Jaro district. This flyover is 340 lineal meters long and has a budget of P520 million.

DG tried to get the comment of Engr. Fruto but he has not responded as of this writing.