After building 1,380.25 kilometers of roads and 570 individual bridges in Eastern Visayas over the last five years, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) revealed that more key infrastructure projects are underway and nearing completion.
Rehabilitation, reconstruction, and widening of roads; construction of bypasses and diversion roads; and preventive maintenance of roads are implemented to enhance the interconnectivity between islands and provinces in the entire region.
One of the completed roads in the region include the 11.607-kilometer Samar Pacific Coastal Road which was opened in November 2019. Its completion was envisioned to link the so-called “Pacific Towns” in Samar and was seen to complement and eventually establish a circumferential road loop of Samar Island.
The department also disclosed that the region has the highest number of completed bridge projects nationwide from July 2016 to December 2020.
These projects mostly involve bridge widening, major repair of the region’s permanent bridges, and retrofitting/strengthening of bridges.
Various infrastructure projects all over the region tagged as “high impact” are now being fast tracked, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said.
The Tacloban City Bypass Road is now 93.49 percent completed. The P2-billion project will reduce travel time from the usual 1 hour and 30 minutes to only 30 minutes, benefiting more than 1,000 motorists a day.
The 30-kilometer Tacloban City Bypass Road Extension is also under way and is expected to complement the proposed international seaport that will be constructed in the town of Babatngon, Leyte. It is a P1.198-billion project that will feature a six-lane roadway to decongest traffic along Tacloban-Babatngon Road going to Tacloban City Proper. It will shorten the travel time from 1 hour and 30 minutes to 45 minutes.
One of the early delivered projects in the region is the construction of a “great wall” that protects residents in the coastal areas of Tacloban City, preventing a repeat of the devastation brought by the super typhoon “Yolanda.” The 30,858-linear meter Leyte Tide Embankment Project, which started in 2016, is now 80.37 percent completed.
It aims to protect over 30,000 residences along the coasts of Tacloban City stretching to the municipalities of Palo and Tanauan, Leyte. It has a project cost of P6.138 billion.
Despite many challenges, Villar ensured that “the completion of this project is fast tracked as this project aims to build safer communities in Eastern Visayas.”
Another big-ticket project that is inching closer to completion is the P703.6-million Palo West Bypass Road project which diverts traffic in Palo, Leyte, particularly in the junction of Palo-Carigara-Ormoc Road and Daang Maharlika LT Road. It is now 92.58 percent finished.
It is a 2.956-kilometer road that reduces the travel time from 30 minutes (via Daang Maharlika LT Road) to 15 minutes (via Palo West By-Pass Road). Its construction includes two bridges, namely Caloogan Bridge and Bangon Bridge.
The 48.20-kilometer Mahaplag-Hilongos Road is also considered as a high-impact project as it will connect two municipalities in the 5th District of Leyte.
It currently has a 25.83-percent accomplishment rate. Once completed, travel time from Maasin City to Tacloban City will be drastically reduced to 1 hour and 30 minutes from the usual four-hour travel time.
Another ongoing project is the 4.5-kilomeyer, 6-lane Ormoc City Diversion Road that is seen to speed up transportation from 30 minutes to 10 minutes between Barangay San Juan and Naungan in Ormoc City, Leyte. It is a P1.45-bllion project with a current progress rate of 84.28 percent.
The improvement of the 12-kilometer Divisoria-Langit-San Antonio Farm-San Diego-Sto. Niño Road is now 81.31 percent completed. It is implemented under a P404.41-million fund. Aside from connectivity, the road is also seen to be instrumental to the promotion of economic growth through the garment industry in New Era in Alang-Alang, Leyte.
Also under construction is the Maasin City Coastal Bypass Road in Southern Leyte that will connect Tomas Oppus Street to Maasin City Port and to Bdry. Southern Leyte-Maasin-Macrohon-Daang Maharlika Road.
It is implemented under a P333.48-million project cost that involves the construction of a four-lane road and bridges with a total length of 4.741 kilometer, including the opening of 2.341 kilometers of road with slope protection works, embankment, drainage system with walkways and bike lane.
For the province of Samar, the Calbayog City Coastal Road Package in Calbayog City is already 82.76 percent accomplished. It is projected to ease traffic congestion in the city proper by diverting traffic to the Coastal Diversion Road. Costing P1.25 billion, the project commenced in 2018 and is currently fast tracked, the department said.
Also started in 2018 is the construction of P206.74-million San Roque Bypass Road in Northern Samar which is now 90.67 percent completed.