By Rjay Zuriaga Castor
The Department of Public Works and Highways-Western Visayas (DPWH-6) said asphalting works in the foundations of the defective Ungka flyover are just part of the repair works and rectification measures.
“Ang purpose natun sang gina repair natun nga asphalting works sa dalum sang Ungka is to rectify all those defects sang aton nga concrete pavements,” officer-in-charge (OIC) regional director Sanny Boy Oropel told Daily Guardian in a phone interview on Monday.
Oropel said that the flyover’s contractor, International Builders Corp, is the one doing the asphalt overlay in the piers and shafts of the Ungka flyover.
Meanwhile, the DPWH’s district engineering office is also resurfacing the adjacent roads beneath the flyover with asphalt as part of its routine maintenance activities and to provide safe and hassle-free travel to commuters.
Oropel said they are also fixing the sections that were affected during the construction of the Ungka flyover when excavations were made, which were left open and posed a potential hazard to commuters.
“May mga section man nga gina obra ang contractor because during the construction activity of the Ungka flyover, nag excavate. So may portion nga na open nila nga wala nila maclose. So in order for us to provide, kay dira naga agi ang aton nga mga commuters, ginpa aspalto ta na para at least matinlo man,” he said.
‘HOLE’ IN FLYOVER NOT NEW
Oropel also clarified that the images of a hole on the surface of the four-lane flyover, which gained traction over the weekend, have been there for some time but it was only now that it was noticed.
“Ang buho na da sa babaw, basi bag o niyo lang na da nakita […] Dugay na ina nga buho, wala lang galing makita,” he said.
Oropel explained that the hole was “deliberately done” by the contractor to extract water that pooled on the flyover’s carriageway during a downpour.
The hole is located near one of the sinking piers of the flyover. The sagging part caused water to stagnate in the span instead of going into the drainage.
Orpoel said the hole near the flyover’s centerline pavement markings was meant to facilitate drainage.
“Ang aton mga drain pipes, ma locate mo na sa side sang aton nga four lanes on both sides. Since nga may deflection kita nga na observe sang una, ang aton nga pier 6, nagpanaog, so may sag subong ang aton slab, so dira nagapundo ang tubig so para makadrain kita diretso, ginbuhuan na sang contractor,” he explained.
Based on the geotechnical investigation of the Abinales Associates Engineers + Consultant, the third-party consulting firm hired by DPWH, three of the total 16 piers of the flyover 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.
But Oropel said that once the repair works recommended by the third-party consulting starts, the surface span will eventually be removed during the repair.
“Basically once the investigation activity recommended by Adam Abinales will be started […] kuhaon na da ang babaw nga span ei. Meaning to say, wala man gid na problema ang buho da kay gub-on ta man na dyapon sa ulihi,” Oropel said.
When asked for a comment on the DPWH central office’s P200 million allocation for the repair of the flyover in its proposed 2024 budget, Oropel said that the regional office is yet to come up with an exact figure.
“Wala pa ma istoryahan ni (DPWH Sec.) Manuel Bonoan or any other individuals nga P200 million ang aton budget […] Ang P200 million, indi na siya ang exact figure. We, with the Bureau of Design, will evaluate to come up with the exact figure on how rectification works will be done,” he said.
Oropel shared that DPWH-6 already received the final probe report of the third-party consultant and the evaluation and recommendations from the Bureau of Design.
The report, which they finally received on Friday last week, included the findings, recommendations, timeline of rectification works, and estimated costs, among other relevant details.
It can be recalled that even though the regional office did receive the final probe report, it was immediately forwarded to the DPWH central office upon submission.
“Give us some time and to study thoroughly because this is a highly technical matter that we cannot decide on one day only. Ginatun-an pa natun subong kag gina-evaluate. Please give us the time and consider also the technical aspect that we should consider to come up with the final decision for the Ungka flyover,” Oropel said.