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Controversy shrouds Albay bridge projects


LEGAZPI CITY --- Two dormant bridge projects along busy national highways in Albay are causing controversy, with reports suggesting full funding under the General Appropriation Act. The removal of mandatory billboards at the project sites, allegedly orchestrated by Department of Public Works and Highways officials, has intensified the dispute. The billboards contained essential project information.

An unnamed DPWH insider revealed that the Busay Flyover and Padang Bridge Expansion in the Albay 2nd Congressional District have faced delays, drawing commuter attention. The Busay Flyover, located near the Cagsawa Ruins, and the Padang Bridge Expansion, in the flood-prone Padang – Lidong route, have experienced prolonged completion timelines.

The retired Albay district engineer called for an investigation into the delayed projects, highlighting the removal of project billboards. Professor Salvador Flor criticized the delays, emphasizing the impact on commuters and the need for a thorough inquiry.

DPWH records indicated that both projects were awarded to Makapa Construction, owned by local businessman Carlos Loria. Loria, who blamed DPWH for the delays, admitted to being the sole contractor for the Busay Flyover and in a joint venture with Jejan Construction for the Padang Bridge expansion.

Concerns were raised about Jejan Construction’s ability to complete the Padang Bridge expansion promptly. DPWH Regional Director Virgilio Eduarte addressed fears about the stability of the girder bridge, reassuring the public.

Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda expressed discontent with the delays and directed DPWH to investigate. He emphasized the need for resolution, given the ready funds for property relocation.

A group of concerned senior citizens and commuters demanded a probe into the delays of the Busay Flyover and Padang Bridge Expansion. The Busay Flyover connects the Manila – Sorsogon – Visayas – Mindanao route, while the Padang Bridge links the province’s 2nd and 1st districts and Catanduanes.

Professor Salvador Flor highlighted the traffic issues caused by the Padang Bridge expansion, affecting travel from Catanduanes to Manila. He criticized the lack of a detour route and the traffic snarls during rainfall.

Despite DPWH Regional Director Virgilio Eduarte assuring the public of the projects’ completion, concerns persist. Salceda urged the DPWH to address the issues promptly, considering the inconvenience to commuters.

Contractor Carlos Loria blamed DPWH for the delays and confirmed his company’s involvement in both projects. Jejan Construction, in a joint venture with Loria, faced scrutiny for potential delays in the Padang Bridge expansion.

Albay 2nd District Engineer Warren Azotea provided updates on the Busay Flyover and Padang Bridge projects, citing road right-of-way issues and ongoing construction efforts. Eduarte reassured the public about the Padang Bridge’s stability, addressing concerns about girder construction.

Notably, the Padang region faced tragedy during the 2007 Typhoon Reming, with over 200 residents losing their lives to lahar flow. The ongoing developments warrant continued attention and oversight.


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