WHAT’S UP IN UNGKA?: Public wonder when will repair of sinking flyover start

The public has been asking when the repairs of the defective P680-million Ungka flyover in Iloilo will begin. (Photo courtesy of SB Member Jose Maria “Pyt” Trimañez)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo and Sean Rafio

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has secured the nod of the Iloilo City Council to begin repairing the P680-million sinking Ungka flyover almost a week ago.

Even DPWH OIC-Regional Director Sanny Boy Oropel said the rectification works to be conducted by Monolithic Construction & Concrete Products, Inc., have begun.

On paper, things should have started in the first week of January 2024. But the Dinagyang Festival has passed and all the public can see are enclosures around some of the piles or foundations of the defective flyover.

On Monday, Sangguniang Bayan Member Jose Maria “Pyt” Trimañez of Pavia, Iloilo, where part of the flyover stands, could not hide his disappointment as he shared photos of the Ungka Flyover amid reports that repairs of the P680-million infrastructure have started.

“What?” Trimañez simply captioned his post, showing photos of the piers of the flyover without the workers supposedly working on the rectification of the infrastructure.

Daily Guardian has reached out to Trimañez to get more rejoinders about his post.

Earlier, Oropel said 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.

“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.

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.

The flyover, a legacy project of former Senator Franklin Drilon, was first opened in September 2022 but it was closed to traffic after Daily Guardian reported that three of its foundations were sinking substantially.

Investigation by a third party firm confirmed that three piers indeed sank by more than 1 foot, thus necessitating the repairs.

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