P190-M flyovers for Iloilo highways

TWO flyovers costing P190 million will be constructed at the two main intersections along Sen. Benigno S. Aquino Jr. Avenue to relieve motorists and commuters of traffic, according to a press statement from Senator Franklin Drilon on Tuesday.

Sen. Benigno S. Aquino Jr. Avenue is a stretch of the national highway along the Iloilo Diversion Road-Iloilo Capiz Road (old route) that begins at the junction of Gen. Luna, Iloilo City to the airport access road and ends at the gate of the Iloilo International Airport. It traverses the municipalities of Pavia, Sta. Barbara and Cabatuan in Iloilo province.

The flyovers, Ungka II flyover and Agana Flyover, will be built at the intersection of Sen. Benigno Avenue and the 14-kilometer Pres. Corazon Aquino Avenue and the junction of Sen. Benigno Avenue and Felix Gorriceta Jr. Avenue in Pavia, respectively.

Drilon said there is already P190-million allocation lodged under the 2019 budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to finish the feasibility studies and commence the construction of the flyovers.

“The construction of these two flyovers will reduce traffic in those areas. We hope to push away traffic from these major thoroughfares,” Drilon said.

The two flyovers will redirect vehicles that converge in the junctions, he added.

Drilon said he will push additional budget in the proposed 2020 national budget to complete their construction. The DPWH estimated their cost at P740 million. The initial allocation is P190 million.

Both flyovers, to be implemented by the DPWH, will have four lanes with lengths ranging from 220 to 260 meters, Drilon said.

The 10-lane, 15-kilometer Sen. Benigno Avenue serves as the main thoroughfare from Iloilo City to the Iloilo International Airport in Sta. Barbara and Cabatuan area.

Drilon initiated the construction of the two main thoroughfares during the Aquino administration. They now serve as main gateways to the city, easing traffic congestion. The roads are now a commercial strip, dotted by new hotels and business establishment.

However, the rapid rise of Iloilo and the influx of tourists, Drilon acknowledged, caused traffic congestions particularly during rush hours (from 6:30AM to 9:00AM and from 5:00PM to 7:30PM).

“We will address traffic congestion in Metro Iloilo. While traffic is a sign of development, we cannot let it continue as it will affect our reputation as one of the few livable cities in the country, as well as our bid to make Iloilo a MICE destination,” Drilon said.

The Ilonggo senator was referring to his campaign, together with the Department of Tourism, to position Iloilo as premier destination for meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibits or MICE.

“We have to move quick to solve this traffic congestion which irk drivers, commuters and tourists. We must prevent being compared to Metro Manila and Cebu City in terms of the gravity of traffic. It will not be good for the image of the city that we have worked hard on for several years,” Drilon said.

Drilon, who led the transformation of Iloilo as a progressive and fully developed city, was given tribute by Iloilo business leaders Friday night.