READ: DPWH's long list of accomplishments in Ilocos under Duterte gov't

Published July 7, 2021, 8:05 PM

by Betheena Unite

More than 1,500 kilometers (km) of roads and a total of 354 bridges have either been built or improved in the Ilocos region over the last five years, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said.

Lingayen Bypass Road in Pangasinan (Photo from DPWH)

To be specific, 1,538 km of newly-built, rehabilitated, and widened roads including bypasses, missing links; farm-to-market roads, road to seaports, airports, trades, industries, economic zones, declared tourism destinations, and other road constructions have been accomplished in the region under the Duterte administration. Aside from the roads and bridges, 1,124 flood mitigation structures and 8,929 classrooms were also delivered in the region’s provinces.

“Looking back on November 26, 2018, we opened two major infrastructure projects in the province of La Union, leading to Benguet and Baguio City. The Aringay-Tubao Alternate Road and Anduyan Bridge in Tubao, La Union has since facilitated scenic travel to Asin Hotspring in Tuba, Benguet and Baguio City,” said DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, the main man behind the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” initiative. In July 2019, the 7.319-km, four-lane Candon City Bypass Road in Ilocos Sur also became serviceable, decongesting traffic along the section of the Manila North Road (MNR) that traverses Candon City.

In December 2020, Bislak Bridge in Vintar, Ilocos Norte, which is part of the access road leading to trades and economic zones in the province, was inaugurated. Its opening gave residents a safer way to cross the Bislak River, which had only been crossable using a bamboo raft during the rainy season.

Last January 18, 2021, the 7.17-km Urdaneta City Bypass Road that crosses two major road intersections of Urdaneta-Dagupan Road and Urdaneta-Manaoag Provincial Road was also completed. It is seen to address traffic bottlenecks during peak hours along Manila North Road in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan and will eventually establish an improved national road system in the province.

Anduyan Bridge in La Union (Photo from DPWH)

Meanwhile, other high-impact projects are underway in the region.

One of these is the access road leading to Mapita Tribal Community and View Deck in Nayong Aguilar (Ylang-Ylang Plantation) dubbed as the Daang Katutubo. It is now 84.74 percent complete. The road aims to boost the tourism and agri-tourism industry as well as to give the municipality a quality and world-class tourist destination.

The P2-billion Mangatarem-Sta. Cruz Road, popularly called Daang Kalikasan, is 68.45 percent complete. Both the Daang Kalikasan and Daang Katutubo in Pangasinan are expected to ease the travel time of motorists and boost tourism while highlighting the majesty of the mountainous areas of the province.

A 7.5644-km access road leading to Tondaligan people’s park in Dagupan City, Pangasinan is also under construction with a progress rate of 35.63 percent. It is expected to ease travel leading to beaches in the city, especially during summer time.

In the nearby town of Lingayen, a P2.8-billion bypass road now has a 44.75 percent progress rate. It is a 6.04-km road that starts at the intersection of Pangasinan-Zambales Road and Lingayen Labrador Diversion Road. Once completed, it is expected to reduce travel time between Barangay Baay, Lingayen and Barangay Biec, Binmaley from 22 minutes to only seven minutes.

Another project that will soon be finished in Pangasinan is the 22.23-km Pangasinan-Nueva Vizcaya Road or the Villa Verde Road, which is now 72.58 percent complete. Travel time from Carmen, Pangasinan to Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya will be reduced from four hours to two hours once the road is opened.

In Ilocos Sur, the ongoing construction of a10.974-km road connecting the municipalities of Bantay and San Ildefonso is now 54.69 percent complete. Once inaugurated, travel time between the two municipalities is expected to be reduced from one hour to just 15 to 20 minutes.

The 4.6778-km Tagudin Bypass Road also in Ilocos Sur is now 48.91 percent done. It is seen to decongest traffic along the section of the Manila North Road that traverses Tagudin town. It will reduce travel time between Sudipen, La Union and Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur from one hour to just 15 to 20 minutes.

In La Union, the ongoing Bauang-San Fernando-San Juan Bypass Road traversing 24 barangays is now 30 percent complete. It will relieve traffic along the Manila North Road and will reduce travel time from one hour to 30 minutes starting from Barangay Payocpoc Norte, Bauang to Barangay Taboc, in San Juan. The 8.721-km section of the bypass road starting from Jct. San Fernando-Bagulin Road, Camansi, San Fernando City to Jct. MNR, Taboc, San Juan is scheduled for inauguration this month.

The Poblacion-Puguil-Tubaday Road is now 67.91 percent accomplished. The road will transform the usual five-hour hike from Santol town proper to its upland barangays into a mere 15-minute ride.

Candon City Bypass Road in Ilocos Sur (Photo from DPWH)

According to Villar, “the road has been quite a sensation by bloggers and is now the newest attraction of sightseers in the province of La Union because it passes through a flat to sloping terrain along the breathtaking beautiful scenery of the mountains.” It is also expected to boost the soft broom industry and other high-value agricultural products in Santol.

Further north in Ilocos Norte, the 2.1547-km Bangui Bypass Road is now 79.35 percent complete. The completion of the bypass road will address a critical bottleneck in the urban areas, the secretary noted.

The 12.08-km Laoag-San Nicolas Bypass Road, also in Ilocos Norte, currently has a progress rate of 20.26-percent progress rate.

In the eastern part of the province, in the town of Dingras, a diversion road is also being built and has a 34.45 percent accomplishment rate. The Dingras Diversion Road will slash travel time from Barangay Bungcag to Barangay Guerrero from 20 tp 30 minutes to just 10 to 15 minutes.

“As promised, [the] DPWH under the Duterte administration will help spur development outside Metro Manila by building and placing the groundwork for new projects to improve the economic interplay between the urban and rural areas,” Villar said.