Pili town council slams serious deterioration of P85-M bridge
By Juan Escandor Jr. PILI, Camarines Sur --- With the fast deterioration of and the danger that a 2-year old bridge poses to all vehicles passing this town, the municipal council here slams the suspected substandard work that resulted in the cracking of its surface, creating a hole as big as the size of a huge trunk of acacia in the middle of the P85M worth of structure along the Maharlika Highway in Barangay San Jose of this town. Right smack at the main artery where vehicles come and go from Bicol to Metro Manila and vice versa, the San Jose bridge was constructed under the supervision of the second engineering district of Camarines Sur. It was completed on July 10, 2015, or almost exactly two years ago, the document provided by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) showed. Councilor John Apollo Manaog, chair of the committee on infrastructure of the Pili town council, said Tuesday they were waiting for the DPWH to act on their complaint regarding the alleged substandard work that resulted in the build of cracks and holes in the middle portion of the bridge. Manaog said the appearance of the holes and cracks started last week and in a short period of time these had widened and endangered motorists passing by the bridge. Assistant District Engineer Richard Ragragio, speaking in behalf of District Engineer Rebecca Roces who declined to be interviewed, said the word “substandard” referring to the description of the work on the bridge “is very harsh.” Ragragio said the steel bars used are of the right specifications in terms of size, and the spacing observed, as well. “Probably there are factors that affected the curing of the cement. As early as few months ago, we have already seen the deterioration and asked the contractor to rectify it,” he said. Ragragio said NFH Construction & Supply, the contractor of the San Jose Bridge, is under the warranty period in which it is still responsible for the repair of the bridge without spending extra fund by the government. “The palliative measure that we could do for now is to see to it that the problem in the bridge will not deteriorate. We have sent workers to [temporarily] seal the holes with steel plates to avoid accidents,” he said. Ragragio said they will ask the Bicol regional office of the DPWH to thoroughly inspect the bridge so that they will be given proper guidance on how to assess and solve the problems in the bridge construction.