24,000-km roads built, improved in 4 years — DPWH

Published July 8, 2020, 4:59 PM

by Betheena Kae Unite

Close to 24,000 kilometers of roads have been constructed and improved all over the country four years after the massive infrastructure program of the government started, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said Wednesday.

Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar

Despite the months-long suspension of construction due to the enhanced and general community quarantine, Villar expressed confidence that the existing infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build program will be delivered in 2022.

On behalf of the infrastructure cluster, Villar said that “while the (COVID-19) pandemic may have disrupted the implementation of projects, with the right mindset, scientific advice, and our whole-of-government approach, we are still committed to complete many of our projects within the next two and a half years.”

A total 23,657 kilometers of roads were constructed, maintained, widened, upgraded and rehabilitated as of May 2020, Villar reported during the virtual 2020 Pre-State of the Nation Address (pre-SONA) forum.  

He also said that a total of 4,959 bridges were also constructed, widened, upgraded, rehabilitated, and strengthened as of May 2020.

Villar disclosed that the government “will build and lay the groundwork for the 1,066 kilometers of new high standard highways and expressways in Luzon, Cebu and Davao with a total investment cost of P802 billion.”

Vital to the improved and expanded highway network in the country is the Luzon Spine Expressway Network Program, covering some 905 kilometers of high standard expressways in Luzon, which is more than twice the 382-kilometer existing expressways.

The P633-billion priority program aims to reduce travel time between Ilocos and Bicol regions from 20 hours to just nine hours. 

Luzon Spine Expressway involves the construction of the 89-kilometer Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), 30-kilometer Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX), the 24.61-kilometer Arterial (Plaridel) By-Pass Road, Southeast Metro Manila Expressway, 5.58-kilometer NLEX Harbor Link Segment, 80-kilometer NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, 18.83-kilometer Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3, 7.7-kilometer Manila Cavite Toll Expressway Project, C-5 South Link Expressway, 45-kilometer Cavite-Laguna Expressway, 66.74-kilometer South Luzon Expressway – Toll Road 4, Quezon-Bicol Expressway, and 15-kilometer Camarines Sur Expressway.

The secretary also reported that some of the new bridges, which are under construction to augment the 30 existing ones across Pasig River, Marikina River, and Manggahan Floodway are expected to be completed next year amid the months-long suspension of civil works.

The Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas Center Road Link, which will connect Lawton Avenue in 

Makati City with the Sta. Monica Street in Pasig City in under 15 minutes, is now 80-percent completed. 

The China-funded Binondo-Intramuros Bridge and Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge will be finished next year, Villar said.

These new roads and bridges are expected to ease traffic in EDSA and other major roads in Metro Manila.

Other road projects

From 2016 to 2020, a total of 3,667 kilometers of tourism roads or access roads leading to tourism destinations in the country were projected to be developed with a budget of P104.5-billion. As of May 2020, 1,950 kilometers of tourism roads have been completed, Villar said.

A total of 3,859 kilometers of farm-to-market roads identified by the Department of Agriculture under a P38.6-billion fund were planned to be constructed between period of 2016 and 2020.  As of May 2020, a total of 1,540 km of agriculture roads had been constructed and improved.

Further, P2.4-billion was also released for the construction and improvement of 150 kilometers of farm-to-mill roads identified by the Sugar Regulatory Administration during the four-year frame but as of May 2020, only 51 kilometers of farm-to-mill roads were constructed and improved.

A total of P28.9 billion was appropriated for the construction and upgrading of about 1,009 kilometers of access roads leading to industries and trade corridors across the country under the Roads Leveraging Linkages for Industry and Trade (ROLL IT) Program, however, as of May 2020, 437 kilometers were completed.

It was also reported that as of May 2020, a total of 8,941 flood mitigation structures and drainage system projects were completed. 

As of June 2020, 129 evacuation centers were completed while construction of 68 evacuation facilities are under way. Out of the 81 provinces, 65 provinces have at least one completed evacuation center, Villar said.

Quarantine facilities

Of the over 100 evacuation facilities constructed, 63 evacuation centers were utilized as quarantine facilities, capable of providing health monitoring and treatment to about 2,292 individuals. As of June 2020, a total of 1,686 persons were accommodated in the facilities.

To date, 11 public and private structures in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Laguna and Davao City have been converted into mega community quarantine facilities with a total bed capacity of 2,584.

Moreover, 30 units of container vans were also repurposed into mobile rooms which can be used as additional COVID-19 isolation health facilities.

The secretary further disclosed that construction of quarantine facilities is being considered in Cavite, Batangas, Quezon Province, Cebu City, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, Tacloban City, Ormoc City, Maasin City, Biliran, Catbalogan, Catarman, and Palo.