By John Noel E. Herrera
The Department of Works and Highways (DPWH)-6 is in a rush to clear and widen the road under the sinking P680-million Ungka Flyover at Brgy Ungka II, Pavia, Iloilo to ease the traffic situation in time for the Dinagyang Festival.
DPWH-6 workers, together with the team sent by the flyover’s contractor International Builders Corp (IBC), started to clear the shoring or support structure that they previously placed underneath the sinking piers.
They also removed the temporary walls surrounding the flyover which they used during the jet grouting operation last year.
Jet grouting refers to the injection of a cement-like substance to stop the piers from sinking further.
Several motorists, as well as the residents, also noticed the improvements in the area as it already looked clean and pleasing to the eyes.
The road was also widened because of the clearing operations, allowing two to three vehicles to pass at the same time.
Some individuals, however, said that the DPWH was only forced to apply temporary measures to ease the traffic because of the guests who will visit the city during the Dinagyang Festival, and not really for the benefit and safety of Ilonggos.
“The rush to clear the road for the festival is a disheartening example of poor prioritization by the DPWH,” Toming John Castro commented on Daily Guardian’s Facebook post.
“The DPWH’s rush to clear the road for the festival is a poor way of showing they care about the public’s safety and well-being,” Clark Motocan added.
DPWH-6, together with the IBC, also started the road widening last week, as a lane is being added on both sides of the road beneath the flyover to somehow immediately ease the traffic congestion in the area while the defective flyover remains closed to motorists.
DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan assured that just compensation will be given to the residents affected by the road widening efforts.
“Babayaran po naman namin. Nakikipag-negotiate po kami,” Bonoan previously said.
Over 20 lot and building owners were affected by the road widening, and some still refused to cooperate with the DPWH as they fear that they might not be amply compensated by the department.
The DPWH-6 aims to finish the road widening before the highlights of the Dinagyang Festival on Jan 21 to 22, 2023.
Bonoan also earlier assured the public and motorists that it is safe to pass under the flyover as they had already initiated interventions to temporarily stabilize the structure despite its sinking piers.
“Sa tingin ko wala tayong problema kung dumaan sa ilalim ng Ungka Flyover kasi may interventions na tayo na ginawa sa baba para ma-stabilize ng konti. May ginagawa kaming shoring, nakita niyo ‘yong steel frames sa baba at naglagay pa kami ng grouting,” he said.