P200M set aside for repairs of ‘useless’ Ungka flyover

The Department of Public Works and Highways has set aside P200 million in its proposed 2024 budget for the repair of the useless Ungka Flyover in Barangay Ungka II, Pavia, Iloilo. (F.A. Angelo photo)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has allocated P200 million in its proposed 2024 budget for the repair of the defective Ungka Flyover in Barangay Ungka II, Pavia, Iloilo.

During the House Committee on Appropriations’ deliberations of DPWH’s P822.2-billion proposed budget on September 7, Public Works Secretary Manuel Bonoan disclosed that the department had earmarked “a little or more or less 200 million” for the flyover’s repair.

But Kabataan Party-list Representative Raoul Manuel, who asked Bonoan about the budget for repair, pointed out that the cost of repairs is “very costly.”

“Napakalaking gastos po nuon for repair lalo na’t ang original cost nung flyover 680-million. Very costly po yung repair kaya kung ishoshoulder na naman ito ng ating mga kababayan, sobrang inhustisya na po ito,” he stressed.

According to the Abinales Associates Engineers + Consultants, the third-party consulting firm hired by DPWH, the repair of the flyover would take at least 10 months and can cost up to P250 million.

Bonoan said that DPWH is also looking into the flyover’s project design, approval process, and construction.

“Unfortunately, nadatnan ko lang rin ito Your Honor (Manuel). These are the things that we are looking into actually. How [was the project] designed? How [was it] approved and how it was implemented at this point in time?” he said.

The flyover underwent construction from January 2020 to June 2022 during the tenure of former DPWH secretaries Roger Mercado and Mark Villar.

Bonoan said as soon as the budget for the repair becomes available, the DPWH will hasten the implementation of the rectifications so the public can use the flyover immediately.

“While we are doing all these investigations on how this [actually happened] is that I would like to make the facility usable at the earliest possible time. And this is what we are looking at, what rectification could be done immediately at this point in time,” he noted.

The Ungka flyover was fully opened on September 5, 2022, but was closed just two weeks later due to concerns raised by motorists about the “wavy feel” in using it and the confirmed vertical displacement in the structure.

Based on the geotechnical investigation of the third-party consultant, Piers No. 4, 5, and 6 of the flyover, out of a total of 16 piers, sank by more than one foot between May 2022 and April 14, 2023.

Pier 5 sank at a depth of 22.9 inches, Pier 6 at 19.21 inches, while Pier 4 settled by 16 inches.

To date, the flyover remains closed to the public, causing heavy traffic between the towns of Pavia, Iloilo, and Jaro, Iloilo City, during rush hours.