When dreams turn into nightmares

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE torrent of speculations about the P680-Million Ungka Flyover is matched by public anger engendered by its abrupt closure due to engineering issues particularly the settling of three of its piers.

The inconvenience it has caused and continues to cause as far as traffic congestion in the Ungka intersection is concerned is made all the more painful by the lack of information, nay updates, from the Department of Public Works and Highways. Even the project contractor, International Builders Corporation (IBC), has yet to find the courage to face the public and explain in detail the engineering solutions it has in mind. Thus far, what we are seeing are the steel shorings IBC has installed to support the girders and prevent these from collapsing. We have also been informed, albeit unofficially, that IBC injected grout some 28 or 30 meters deep into the ground to arrest the settling of the piers.

Indeed, monstrous traffic snarls making life hard for the commuting public traversing the Ungka intersection are made more unbearable by the utter lack of transparency about the facts that led to this big-ticket manmade disaster.

For instance, the public wants to know the consultant/s hired by the DPWH’s Bureau of Design to design this mammoth project.

Why is the DPWH not giving us the project’s construction calendar? Are we to assume that the project contract has already expired? If so, has the contractor been paid in full?

What is the liability of parties involved in the design and construction? The DPWH should run after the design consultant if culpability rests on it/him/her.

Is the contractor also liable? Did it follow the specifications?

The DPWH should clarify the claims of a private professional engineer that “no soil test” was conducted even before the project started construction.

By this time, several months after news on the settlement of the piers broke out, the DPWH must have already thought of engineering solutions to resolve once and for all the problem.

Huge taxpayers’ money was used for this project touted by then Sen. Franklin Drilon as his “legacy project” for Iloilo.

While we are at it, what is delaying the completion of the three other flyover projects in Aganan, Hibao-an and the one in Jaro? The Aganan and Hibao-an flyovers are also being done by IBC, while the Jaro flyover is contracted by Felix Gurrea Construction.

It is hoped that these legacies borne out of beautiful dreams don’t turn into nightmares.