DPWH-6 vows to open new Iloilo, Negros roads by 2024

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Region 6 headed by Director Sanny Boy Oropel discussed upcoming infrastructure projects, including the Iloilo Sunset Boulevard and Bacolod-Negros Occidental Economic Highway, at the Kapihan sa Bagong Pilipinas session on May 28, 2024. (Francis Allan L. Angelo photo)

By Joseph Bernard A. Marzan

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Region 6 Director Sanny Boy Oropel announced on Tuesday, May 28, that the Iloilo Sunset Boulevard and the first phase of the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Economic Highway (BANOCEH) may be opened to the public within the year.

At the Kapihan sa Bagong Pilipinas session, Oropel shared that several events are planned to invite the public to use the 4.99-kilometer, PHP 1.99-billion Sunset Boulevard during its soft opening for foot traffic this June.

These include a fun run from the Corazon Aquino Avenue (Circumferential Road) to the Molo-Mandurriao Road, coinciding with the agency’s 126th founding anniversary.

The road, which broke ground in April 2022, is set to feature an esplanade, dedicated bike lanes, and paved walkways upon completion. It aims to decongest traffic on the Iloilo-Antique Road by diverting vehicles from Oton via the Oton Pakiad-Mandurriao Road.

“By June 23, the DPWH-6 will celebrate our founding anniversary. I am inviting you to this area for a soft opening to observe what DPWH-6 has been doing in Iloilo City,” Oropel said.

“We will have a fun run at 6:00 in the morning, from [the Molo-Mandurriao Road] up to the section of [the Circumferential Road]… This is a monument of what the [DPWH-6] has done that we can be proud of as a DPWH family.”

Oropel mentioned that all three sections of the project are expected to be finished by December this year, with the June activities serving as a preview of the completed road.

“The purpose of the fun run is to provide all stakeholders access and insight to the projects we are doing for Sunset Boulevard… The homestretch from Mandurriao to Circumferential [Road] will be for joggers, not for vehicular traffic, so they can experience how good this segment is,” he added.

Regarding the PHP 7.39-billion BANOCEH, Oropel said they aim to open one of its portions this year from a junction of the Bacolod South Road in Barangay Sum-ag, though he did not specify when.

The 48.8-kilometer BANOCEH stretches towards the Victorias City junction of the Bacolod North Road, decongesting traffic for those heading to Victorias City and the towns of Manapla and Don Salvador Benedicto.

BANOCEH will include service roads, bike lanes, and vegetation and landscaping programs. It is expected to cut travel time from Bacolod City to Bacolod-Silay International Airport by 25 minutes and benefit 20,000 travelers daily.

“The sections of the Bacolod-Murcia-Benedicto-San Carlos Road will cut through barangays and municipalities, improving traffic for commuters. If you are traveling from the south, you can access the Bacolod City-Silay Airport directly, with the proposed BANOCEH extension reaching Sagay City,” he said.

Other ongoing projects include the Negros Occidental Convention Center in Silay City, the Bacolod City Museum, the Bacolod City General Hospital, the Iloilo River Esplanade 11, the Iloilo City Seawall, the Iloilo City Circumferential Roads C2 and C3, the Passi Bypass Road, Roxas City Circumferential Roads C1, C2, and C3, and buildings of the West Visayas State University College of Law and Medical Center.

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