Issue of July 9, 2017
Mt. Province

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Sabangan detour bridge target set July 15, works fast–tracked
by Angel Baybay

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Personnel of the Mountain Province First Engineering District are working overtime to meet the July 15 deadline set by District Engineer Alex Castañeda for the construction of the Sabangan detour bridge.

During the Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting last Wednesday, Castañeda said he is supervising the ongoing works to meet the self-imposed deadline. Construction of the detour bridge started on June 1. 

Castañeda said only vehicles with a gross weight of five tons will be allowed to pass through the detour bridge. The present landfill bridge will still be used for heavy delivery and freight trucks. A detour bailey bridge was put in place in 2014 when the main bridge spanning the Sabangan stretch of the Bayudan River was dismantled to give way for the construction of a new one. The detour bridge, however, was washed out during the onslaught of Typhoon Lawin in October last year. A makeshift landfill bridge was made but was also destroyed by strong river currents last May 27.  Since then, traffic has been a problem with the bridge becoming impassable when water level rises.

Repair of the destroyed landfill bridge commenced after a series of dialogues between land owners, Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey, and Acting Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan.

Castañeda also reported that the construction of the main bridge will continue. “I talked with the contractor and he assured that he will restart the project the soonest,” Castañeda said.

Construction stopped after some affected families complained about unforeseen effects of the “Manila-designed” project. It took almost three years to make and seek the approval of its redesign.

Castañeda also reported that the MPDEO might be able to find an early solution to the Bontoc-Barlig-Natonin national road problem which up to now remains closed to traffic. “The owner of the land where we plan to open a bypass road that will connect the disconnected national highway at Balabag is willing to talk with us. Construction of a bypass road is still the most feasible and fastest solution. The Bontoc side abutment of the temporary bridge was gradually loosened by continuous rains and it would take time to strengthen it.”

The temporary bridge was built to join the washed-out portion of the national highway.

Meanwhile, DPWH engineers continue to monitor the Samoki Bridge which connects the eastern and western parts of the province. The midsection of the bridge sagged when its posts were battered during Typhoon Lawin.

“We are still waiting for the recommendation of experts and consultants who came and assessed the status of the bridge,” Castañeda said.

As of now, only light vehicles are allowed passage through the Samoki Bridge.

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