Repair of sinking flyover starts; expect traffic jams in Ungka area

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The first phase of rectification for the P680-million Ungka flyover has initially started with the enclosure of the superstructure, the Department of Public Works and Highways-Western Visayas (DPWH-6) said.

“Ongoing subong ang aton rectification sa Ungka flyover. Basically, ang atun rectification nagadalagan na ina, ang gin himo subong ka aton contractor, naga provide sila sang enclosure or naga cover sang pier natun nga unahon jet grout,” DPWH-6 officer-in-charge director Sanny Boy Oropel told Daily Guardian on  Wednesday.

[We are currently undergoing rectification at the Ungka flyover. Basically, our rectification is progressing smoothly; our current contractor is providing an enclosure or covering for the piers that we will be prioritizing for jet grouting.] 

Oropel said the Monolithic Construction & Concrete Products, Inc., has started the enclosure procedures of the flyover’s selected piers on Friday and Saturday.

The DPWH-6 head explained that the enclosure will physically separate the interior or pier area of the flyover from the external environment to ensure the safety of the commuters or motorists passing through it.

“Indi kita makasugod sang shoring kung indi natun na siya ma coveran kag para indi man delikado ang atun mga commuters nga naga agi sa dalom,” he explained.

[We can’t start the shoring unless we cover the area. We also have to ensure the safety of commuters passing underneath the structure.] 

Phase 1 of the rectification involves bracing to stabilize the main girders and jet grouting for the 13 piers of the flyover.

According to Oropel, the Davao-based firm will start jet grouting in piers 7 and 8.

Jet grouting involves shoring, or the process of supporting the structure with shores (temporary buttresses), to prevent the soil retained in the excavation from overturning, which could lead to damage to the construction.

In jet grouting, the DPWH will also stabilize the soil underneath by injecting cementitious material into the ground.

Oropel stressed that the DPWH decided to start the rectification of the flyover through jet grouting instead of bored piling procedures to ensure that the structure can still be used by the public during the upcoming Dinagyang Festival and the feast of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria in Jaro district.

“Gin una ta ang jet grouting kay kung unahon ang additional bored piling, mapasira gid ang atun nga bridge, indi natun mapaagyan sa dalum. Ang atun nga gina himu da subong, makapaagi man ta dyapon sa babaw while naga jet grouting,” he explained.

[We prioritized the jet grouting because if we have additional bored piling first, it would result in the bridge’s closure, and the flyover cannot be used. With what we are doing now, motorists can still use the flyover while we simultaneously perform jet grouting.]

As for the safety concerns, Oropel assured the public that the flyover would still be safe even if jet grouting was ongoing in the two piers.

He cited the thorough study of the DPWH and the contractor for the procedure.

He also maintained that no vertical displacements were observed or monitored, and no noticeable manifestations of any distress were spotted in the defective flyover since it was opened again to the public in September last year.

Oropel did not rule out the area being plagued again by traffic issues once the rectification works of the flyover go full-scale.

He noted that the DPWH has already instructed the contractor to open one lane on both sides to ease traffic congestion in the area during rush hours.

“We will find solutions to the traffic concerns in the area if we go full-scale in our rectification. We are considering all factors for us to address the traffic,” Oropel said.

The DPWH is eyeing to finish the rectification work of Pier 7 and 8 by April or May 2024.