By Rjay Castor
The fate of the Ungka flyover remains a “waiting game” as the new officer-in-charge (OIC) director of the Department of Public Works and Highways-Western Visayas (DPWH-WV) is also waiting for the results of the review from the DPWH central office and Bureau of Design (BOD) before further actions will be taken.
“I am just waiting for the results of the evaluation from the Bureau of Design. After that we can actually receive it, we will evaluate first the recommendation of the Bureau of Design and wait for the recommendation from the third-party consultant,” OIC Regional Director Sanny Boy Oropel told Daily Guardian in a phone interview.
Just like the other officials of the DPWH-WV during the recent congressional hearing, Oropel reiterated that he has no knowledge of the results of the probe by Abinales Associates Engineers + Consultants, the third-party consultant.
“Wala ka agi sa akon because wala pa ko ka assume. I only assumed office on August 8. The geotechnical investigation report was received by the planning and design division and the central office,” he said.
DPWH-WV Assistant Regional Director Jose Al Fruto previously told the media in July 2023 that while the regional office did receive the final probe report, it was directly forwarded to DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan upon submission.
This implies that DPWH-WV is unaware of the deliverables from the consulting firm, which include the findings, recommendations, timeline of rectification works, and estimated costs, among other relevant details.
When asked when Ilonggos can expect the flyover to be serviceable and usable, Oropel stressed that they cannot yet put a figure since they have yet to receive the evaluation and discuss it.
“The fixing of the Ungka flyover could not be determined yet as of this time considering that evaluation is very vital because it will also estimate how much it will cost for the repair and how long it will take,” he explained.
“Only after the discussion with the BOD and the third-party consultant… that’s the time that we will set a timetable on how many days or months that it will be open to the public,” he said.
On the nearby P802-million Aganan flyover, Oropel said they will send a letter to the United Technology Consolidated Partnership (UTCP) “this week” regarding the request for the redesign of the flyover.
“My action for this is to have a follow-up query… Rest assured that this week, we will submit a query to follow up UTCP to fast-track the revised plan,” he said.
UTCP was commissioned by the BOD to redesign the Aganan flyover. It was also the geotechnical consultancy firm commissioned to design the Ungka flyover and conduct soil testing on the site where the flyover was constructed.
The initial plan by UTCP for the Aganan flyover is to use concrete girders for the flyover’s 50-meter span intersection area. However, former DPWH-6 director Engr. Nerie Bueño has proposed a reevaluation of the design, suggesting the use of steel girders.
Construction works at the Aganan flyover were temporarily suspended in December 2022. It was around 70 percent complete upon the suspension date.
“Ang issue happen nga daw indi gid siya feasible sa traffic sa dalom. Kung aton na siya i-implement ang original design, mabudlayan kita sa traffic,” Oropel explained.
He noted that with steel girders, the construction of the Aganan flyover would be quick, which would reduce disruption to traffic and surrounding areas.
The regional director further questioned why it was taking too long for the UTCP to release the revised design. He said that the regional office has requested an update multiple times.
“Why is it nga daw kadugay gid sa ila magpasa sang revised design?” he asked, emphasizing that it causes a delay in the construction works.
Oropel said he is expecting the plan for the redesign to be in his hands within this year.