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Salceda obliges DPWH to prioritize road right of way

By Manuel T. Ugalde


ALBAY 2nd District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda tells the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to settle the Road Right of Way (RROW) issue first before starting other projects as he addresses the number of projects being rendered idle after completion.


Citing the case of the Busay Flyover at the busy Maharlika highway in Daraga, Albay, Salceda said the suspended Busay Flyover has been an eyesore for so long amid the issue of unsettled RROW, despite availability of funds.


Reports said some 12 residential houses remain an obstacle, preventing the contractor to implement the flyover bridge approaches.


Salceda reminded DPWH that the settlement of the RROW issue is a standard operating procedure before the contract award is issued, after which, the contractor can start with the project.


According to reports, because of the pending issuance of the contract award, several contractors would like to start the project on their own. However, this serves as a concern for the officials.


The two-lane Busay Flyover was ordered suspended since early 2022 following the refusal of 12 residential owners to vacate the place despite financial offers for their relocation. The Busay Flyover is under contract with Makapa Construction owned by Carlos Loria, a businessman who was the infrastructure coordinator of former provincial governor-turned congressman, and now Ligao City mayor Fernando Gonzalez.


Salceda described the Busay Flyover delay as lamentable and serves as an eyesore on motorists plying the Manila-Bicol-Visayas route. Documents show that the Busay Flyover, which encompasses over the four-lane Busay Bridge is under the implementation of the regional office. According to Regional Director Virgilio Eduarte, the Busay Flyover will be passable within the year since the agreement on the settlement of payment for the affected residents has already been finalized.


As this develops, Salceda specifically ordered his district engineer, Warren Azotea to make sure if the RROW issue involving the ongoing Padang and Arimbay bridges expansions in Legazpi City are duly settled before the completion dates to avoid delay, citing availability of funds.


Stretching the 10-kilometer Legazpi City (2nd District) - Sto. Domingo town (1st District) route, Salceda worked for the funding of the Padang and Arimbay Bridge expansions, describing the two bridges a busy route and flood-prone area, where 200 residents died from lahar flow during the 2007 Typhoon Reming, said Engr. Azotea. He said 8 residential lots covered with documents affected by the Padang bridge approaches have been scheduled for payment, while affected residents of the Arimbay bridge approaches have already given their green light to relocate.


The 30-meter Padang bridge and approaches is under contract for P60 million with Jejan Construction owned by Legazpi City councilor Glenn Casulla, in a joint venture with Makapa Construction, his former employer, while the 35-meter Arimbay Bridge expansion with 25-meter road approaches is under contract for P75 million with Hi-Tone Construction of former Ako Bicol Party List congressman Christopher Co.


In his report to Salceda and director Eduarte, Azotea explained that the delay in completion of the Padang bridge expansion was caused by a large live rock located 11 meters from the surface that hampered the boring machine to penetrate. He explained that after penetrating the first live rock, another live rock 20 meters below was hit by the boring machine which delayed the contractor to start the pouring of concrete for the board piles designed for the Padang bridge. Other bridges were simply built using concrete piles.


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