Drilon: Designer at fault for ‘sinking’ flyover

Former Senate President Franklin Drilon said the designer of the P680-million Ungka flyover should be held accountable for its defects. (Rjay Zuriaga Castor and SB Member Pyt Trimañez photo)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

Despite being his pet project, former Senate President Franklin Drilon said the designer of the P680-million Ungka flyover should be held accountable for its defects, which have worsened traffic in the area.

“The designer should be held responsible and should do their jobs well. The problem here is the design,” Drilon said in an interview.

This is Drilon’s strongest statement on the issue so far, almost two years after Daily Guardian first broke out the story on the sinking foundations of the flyover.

The Pasig City-based firm United Technologies Consolidated Partnership (UTCP) was tasked by the Bureau of Design of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) with the detailed engineering design of the flyover.

Drilon secured funding for the Ungka flyover before he left politics in 2022. The project aimed to reduce travel time from Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan town to Iloilo City.

The 453.7-meter flyover was fully opened to commuters on September 5, 2022, but was closed just two weeks later due to confirmed vertical displacement in the structure.

In September last year, the Department of Public Works and Highways Western Visayas (DPWH-6) blamed UTCP’s design for the vertical displacements on the Ungka flyover.

DPWH-6 Director Engr. Sanny Boy Oropel pointed out two flaws in the design: (1) the shallow depth of the bored piles at Piers 4, 5, and 6 and (2) the “cheap” cost of the flyover’s construction.

UTCP is the same geotechnical consultancy firm commissioned to design the adjacent P802-million Aganan flyover, whose construction was temporarily suspended in December 2022.

Drilon welcomed developments in the Ungka flyover’s rectification, with the first phase starting in late January this year. Monolithic Construction & Concrete Products, Inc., an engineering firm based in Davao City, is undertaking the repairs.

 

“I am glad there is already a budget for the rectification. As reported to me, there is already a budget, and they will finish the rectification work within the time allotted. I hope that they finish it within the next several months,” Drilon added.

As of April, Phase 1 of the repairs stands at around 50 percent, according to DPWH-6.

DPWH-6 is currently evaluating whether to extend the deadline for Monolithic after it failed to complete the repairs due to challenges in the jet grouting process. Based on the contract, Phase 1 of the rectification is scheduled to be completed by May 6, 2024.

Meanwhile, Drilon noted that the problem with the Aganan flyover is the same as with the Ungka flyover.

“There’s a budget for that, by the way. It’s a question of time. I am sure that it will be addressed,” he said.

DPWH-6 plans to have a third-party consultant review the design of the flyover due to discrepancies in soil test results compared to those provided by UTCP.

UTCP’s report indicated that the depth of the pillars for the Aganan flyover was only 24 meters, significantly shallower than the 54 meters suggested by DPWH.

DPWH-6 is currently awaiting a budget allocation of between P10 million and P15 million to hire the third-party consultant.

1 COMMENT

  1. The contractor may have designed something wrong but the fault falls squarely on the DPWH shoulders for failure to check their subcontractors work. Every sensible dept checks their contractors worldwide but seemingly not here.

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