DPWH revs up work in mountain tunnel of Davao City Bypass Project

Simultaneous tunneling activities are being conducted at northbound and southbound directions on north portal road mountain tunnel component of the Davao City Bypass Construction Project as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) looks to speed things up to finish the project in time.

Emil Sadden, DPWH Undersecretary for Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) Operations. said that works for the north portal’s northbound direction is now underway,, adding that this would speed things up to catch-up on the late arrivals of special equipment/machineries and Japanese experts due to movement restrictions and delayed issuance of travel permits due to the pandemic.

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Undersecretary for UPMO Operations Emil K. Sadain, center, leads the inspection of the Davao City Bypass Construction Project. (DPWH Photo)

The bypass road project is part of the flagship infrastructures of President Duterte.

It is expected to mitigate traffic congestions in Davao City with the travel time between Brgy. Sirawan in Toril District Davao City and Brgy. J.P. Laurel in Panabo City of nearly one hour and 44 minutes via Pan-Philippine Highway Diversion Road to a reduced 49 minutes via Davao City Bypass.

“It is expected that the start up of excavation work at the northbound direction of the north portal will significantly speed up project delivery,” said Sadain.

Construction of the soundbound direction was earlier started on November 2021 and has more than 60 meters of road tunnel excavated with shotcrete, steel ribs and rockbolts.

The group of Shimizu-Ulticon-Takenaka led by Project Director Akira Mito is undertaking the construction of contract package 1-1 covering 10.7 kilometers of four-lane highway, inclusive of the 2.3 kilometer tunnel that has a diameter of 10 meters.

Sadain said that the soon to be first-ever long-distance mountain tunnel in the Philippines was designed to have better seismic resiliency.

This is one of the largest and most important infrastructure project of the Duterte administration in Mindanao towards the attainment of national development goals of “Ambisyon Natin 2040: Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na Buhay”.

Meanwhile, in his project inspection last March 11, Sadain reminded the various contractors and consultants to put primordial importance to safety management especially that the project is highly complex and have many risk-prone activities like excavation and lining, transportation of materials, drilling, handling of tunnel machinery.

The project also seeks to promote transfer of Japanese technology and expertise.

“With various groups interested to see the development of the tunnel, the basic aspect of safety such as safe distance, wearing of personal protective equipment, lighting, ventilation, and other safety and health protocols at workplace shall always be observed,” said Sadain.

Progress of the on-going bored piling works for the Davao River Bridge was also checked by Sadain together with UPMO Roads Management Cluster 1 (Bilateral) Project Director Benjamin A. Bautista, former Project Director Virgilio C. Castillo, Project Manager Joselito B. Reyes and Engr. Earl Nicholas F. Rada, and engineering consultants from Nippon Koei-Katahira-Nippon Engineering-Philkoei.

The entire 45.5-kilometer bypass road is divided into sixpackages: package I-1 (10.7 km), package I-2 (12.8 km), package I-3 (6.1 km), package II-1 (2.7 km), package II-2 (3.5 km), and package II-3 (9.7 km).

The Davao City Bypass Construction Project is funded by the Japanese Official Development Assistance under the Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP) Loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency under Loan Agreement Nos. PH-P261 and PH-P273.