The Bicol regional office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is considering the construction of a new route or an elevated bridge as a long term solution to the unstable condition of the road section of the Maharlika Highway in Beguito Viejo, Libmanan, Camarines Sur, which caused monstrous traffic jam for north and south bound vehicles several days before Christmas.
Esmerldo Sarmiento, DWPH Bicol assistant director bared this during the meeting called by Usec. Marvel Clavecilla, presidential adviser for Bicol Affairs at the boardroom of the Avenue Plaza Hotel on Dec. 26 to find temporary solutions to minimize the inconvenience being suffered by motorists and travellers passing through the problematic portions of the Rolando Andaya Highway and the Beguito Viejo road section of the Maharlika Highway in Libmanan, Camarines Sur.
The meeting was attended by officials of the DPWH, Land Transportation Office (LTO) and Philippine National Police (PNP).
Sarmiento said the road section in Beguito Viejo has a soft base, which resulted to repeated damage on newly repaired concrete road. The road embankment also collapsed during Typhoon Usman two years ago, prompting the DPWH to put sheet piles to prevent further damage.
The DPWH official said they are optimistic that the department will be provided with more funds under President Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program to solve this road problem. However, Sarmiento did not say how much is needed by DPWH to implement its plan of constructing a new route or an elevated bridge in Beguito Viejo.
As this develops, the technical working group of the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Bicol Affairs (OPABA) recommended to DPWH the construction of a bailey bridge over the dilapidated road section.
Clavecilla also recommended the construction of a concrete bridge with bigger capacity in Cabusao, Camarines Sur so that heavy vehicles could pass by the area in case the Libmanan-Sipocot portion of the Maharlika Highway is impassable.
Heavy vehicles like 10-wheeler trucks and buses were not allowed to pass through the Libmanan-Cabusao Sipocot road at the height of the traffic jam in Andaya Highway and Beguito Viejo section of the Maharlika Highway to prevent the bridge in Cabusao from collapsing. Reports said the bridge has only a 3-ton capacity and could only accommodate light vehicles.
Repair work on the Beguito Viejo road reblocking project was suspended a few days before Christmas, which paved the way to make the road section passable to two-way traffic. Prior to this, the portion of the highway was only open to one-way traffic resulting to several kilometers long of stranded vehicles, whether bound for Manila or Naga, Visayas, or Mindanao.
During the meeting, Engr. Ehla Arejola, chief of the DPWH Bicol regional office Construction Division revealed that there are five on-going road reblocking projects starting from Beguito Viejo, Libmanan in Maharlika Highway up to Lupi, Camarines Sur in Andaya Highway.
Clavecilla ordered the DPWH and the contractors of the road reblocking projects to use curing compounds to speed up the curing period of newly repaired concreted road from the usual 14-days to 3-days.