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Construction of long overdue bridge in Albay finally started

By Manly M. Ugalde

LEGAZPI CITY --- Almost four decades ago when Mt. Mayon erupted in 1983 that buried barangays, infrastructures, agricultural and residential lands that also crippled land transportation in Albay, a long overdue bridge that would solve the perennial flooding of a barangay within the Mayon 6-kilometer permanent danger zone (PDZ), finally get started. And this would be a four-lane bridge compared to the two other two-lane bridges stretching the five kilometers three flood-prone barangays.

Barangay Lidong which was among the flood-disturbed barangays during Mayon eruptions and heavy rainfalls, had its schools, residences, and a newly developed luxury subdivision buried during the 1983 Mayon eruption. It is the first barangay of Sto. Domingo town (1st District) after Legazpi City of the second district.

Separated by the national road -- the lower and upper side – Barangay Lidong residents are hopeful they would be spared being tormented by floods and traffic closure once the much-awaited Lidong Bridge is completed, saying the constricted Lidong Spillway which is two-meter below the road level is only serving as the flood-culprit.

During the 1983 major Mayon eruption, more than 100 domesticated Carabaos alone from the foot of Mt. Mayon were carried down dead by the cascading lahar at the Lidong shoreline.

Albay 1st District Engineer Rainero Zerda cannot be reach for comment, but his Assistant District Engineer Cesar Sanorjo said it was only last year that funds for the Lidong Bridge was included for this year General Appropriation Act.

The five kilometers prone to flooding route stretching the three barangays -- Lidong, Arimbay and Padang -- of the Legazpi side, often rendered closed to traffic for days even as the bridges of Barangays Padang and Arimbay have long been constructed more than a decade ago. The said critical five-kilometer route have been proposed early by the Bicol Public Works and Highways for the construction of a viaduct to solve the flooding issue, the cost for which was shelved in favor for the construction of the Padang and Arimbay bridges, however, with the critical Lidong Spillway not included.

At present, the 80 meters Padang bridge is undergoing construction to four-lane after Rep. Joey Salceda ( 2nd District) succeeded in getting extra fund release, said Albay 2nd District Engineer Warren Azotea. Azotea said after completion of the Padang bridge, construction of the 100-meter Arimbay bridge to four-lane may follow.

It will be recalled that during the 2006 Typhoon Reming, Barangay Padang recorded more than 200 residents killed out of the close to 2000 reported provincewide casualties from the cascading Mayon lahar flow.

According to Engr. Sanorjo, Albay 1st District Congressman Edcel Lagman succeeded in the inclusion of the Lidong Bridge project for the 2023 budget. Sanorjo, said the cost of the elevated four-lane 40-meter Lidong bridge was P60 million, including its approaches. Sanorjo admitted that the constricted Barangay Lidong Spillway was way below the road level and that Mayon debris during heavy rainfall spills on road that closes traffic of the province first and second districts.

Hopefully, we could finish the bridge earlier than its scheduled 259 calendar completion period, saying, Congressman Lagman wanted it a priority, having the first district as the alternate route to Manila from Visayas and Mindanao, in the event of Mayon eruption or heavy flooding affecting the second and third district of the province.


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