Issue of August 4, 2019
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DPWH Sec asked for funding for replacement of Balili bridge
by Ofelia C. Empian

Benguet Rep. Nestor Fongwan has asked Public Works and Highways Sec. Mark Villar to fund the replacement of the deck of the Balili Bridge in La Trinidad town.

In his letter dated July 29, Fongwan has asked Villar for the immediate allocation of fund for the replacement of the bridge’s deck as it has received a “bad” rating in the bridge management system “due to numerous defects which are concentrated on the bridge superstructure.”

“It is a choke point. The bridge is only a two lane bridge but is of high importance and of immediate concern of this office because it connects La Trinidad, Baguio City and the rest of the lowland provinces, including Metro Manila with the Cordillera provinces specially Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao and Kalinga,” Fongwan said.

Built in the 1950s, the Balili Bridge is traversed by the Halsema Highway below the Benguet provincial capitol.

He added, the traffic may be diverted along Shilan - Beckel Road or Tawang-Ambiong Road, however, these alternate routes could only accommodate motorists going to Baguio but not farmers delivering to the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post or the Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center, among others.

The letter was prompted by the recommendation of Benguet First Engineering District 1 of the DPWH District Engineer Ireneo Gallato, who reported the wear and tear of the bridge.
“The Balili Bridge along the Baguio-Bontoc Road has shown signs of weakening, transverse cracks and scouring has developed on the concrete deck due to wear and tear,” Gallato said.

Last week, the bridge incurred a full-depth hole, which caused huge traffic as only one-lane remained passable. DPWH placed a steel plate to cover the whole, which made it passable for motorists on both lanes.

The letter has been transmitted to the DPWH main office for Villar’s action.

Meanwhile, a total of P28,145,700 has been recently released as allotment by the DPWH as funding for the  rehabilitation of the roadslip along the Baguio-Bontoc road in Buguias, Benguet which was damaged by Typhoon Ompong.

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