CRACKS APPEAR ON FLYOVER: DPWH-6 engineers ‘mum’ on questions about integrity

Cracks have appeared in parts of the P680-million Ungka flyover after it was closed to traffic due to three “sinking” foundations. (Photo courtesy of PROMETHEUS)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

A Pavia, Iloilo town councilor on Friday said that Department of Public Works and Highways-Region 6 (DPWH-6) engineers were unable to answer their questions during a hearing on the Ungka Flyover at their border with Iloilo City.

This, as cracks have appeared on parts of the P680-million structure that was closed and later underwent shoring or buttressing of three “sinking” piers or foundations.

Town councilor Jose Maria Trimañez, who chairs the Sangguniang Bayan’s Committee on Transportation, said that two engineers represented DPWH-6 on behalf of Assistant Regional Director Jose Al Fruto during their committee hearing on Thursday.

“The purpose [of the committee hearing] was to ask about the status of the flyover at [barangay] Ungka Dos, and ask for the timeline of [the DPWH-6’s] repairs over the Ungka flyover. [Fruto] was not able to come but he sent two field engineers who presented on behalf of their agency,” Trimañez told Bombo Radyo Iloilo.

He said the engineers were instructed to defer from answering the committee’s questions on the purported defects of the flyover and instead relay the queries to Fruto.

“We discussed the traffic [flow in Pavia] that was caused by the defects in the flyover, but they were instructed to ask [Fruto] instead so that there would be only one person to answer the Sangguniang Bayan’s questions,” Trimañez shared.

“Our questions as to the status over the ‘waviness’ of the [flyover pavement], [and questions on] vertical displacement were not answered because [as they said], it was only Engineer Al Fruto who would be able to answer them,” he clarified.

While they were open to talking, Trimañez mentioned that the hearing was supposed to become the basis of their traffic management scheme in the town, particularly in areas affected by the flyover’s temporary closure.

“We no longer insisted, [but] this was supposed to be a reference for the Traffic Management Scheme in the municipality of Pavia to be proposed to the Traffic Management Office, to harmonize with that of Iloilo City,” he said.

Despite this setback, Trimañez said that the Sangguniang Bayan was still open to communication with the DPWH-6 if they ever need legislative action to support their repairs and other actions to make sure the flyover and their other infrastructure in the town are developed well.

“From the beginning, even as the flyover started construction, we have met with the [DPWH-6], consistently offering supporting legislative action so that they may not be hit while [construction was ongoing], for the workers, motorists, and the people of Pavia to benefit, either a resolution or ordinance, so as not to hamper operations,” he said.

The P680-million flyover was closed in mid-September after motorists complained of its wavy surface when driving over, as well as images of flooding which were posted online.

This closure was extended recently for at least another 3 weeks until October for continued shoring and jet grouting.

The temporary shoring or installation of steel support columns was recommended by the DPWH Bureau of Designs.

With the temporary solutions about to be implemented, Fruto earlier told Daily Guardian that their central office has narrowed down the final solution to two options.

One of the final solutions is jet grouting, a ground improvement or soil stabilization method that involves “the injection of a stabilizing fluid into the subsoil (or the soil under treatment) under high pressure under high velocity.”

The injection process involves a certain amount of site preparation as well as injection equipment. The soil stabilization by jet grouting occurs due to the hardening of grouted fluid within the soil. These hardened bodies forms like cemented columns which are grouted in numerous numbers as per requirement, thus stabilizing the soil. These columns are called jet columns or jet-grouted columns. (

Fruto said it would need at least three weeks for the shoring activities, just in time for the final engineering solution that the Bureau of Designs will recommend.

“We need three weeks for the shoring activities for the three locations. Upon completing the shoring works, deretso na sa final solution. That’s why we are asking more patience from our motorists as we want to assure the public of safety even if there were no major distress on the structure,” he added.

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