DPWH asks city to inspect quarry activity in Davao River

THE DEPARTMENT of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has asked the city government to inspect quarrying activities in Davao River, upstream of their bridge project in Barangay Maa, along the Diversion Road, after unstable soil under the construction site caused the collapse of a bored pile late last year.

DPWH XI spokesperson Dean Ortiz, in an interview at the regional office, also clarified that the Davao River Bridge project is not causing traffic in the area.

The agency last year temporarily closed traffic to install bored piles at the bottom of the construction site.

The DPWH official said the soil below the bridge has become unstable and asked the city government to continue regulating the activity as it did in the past.

Ortiz also clarified that the bridge project was not contributing to any traffic congestion in the area per se, as the traffic was there to begin with.

“It’s because of heavy volume, and not because of the bridge project,” he said.

He added that the point of the bridge widening was to respond to the increasing volume of vehicles crossing the Davao River Bridge every day.

A city councilor yesterday criticized the agency for reportedly causing heavy traffic in the area, which runs across the C.P. Garcia Highway (Diversion Road).

Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang accused the DPWH of causing heavy traffic in both south- and northbound lanes of the bridge project.

But Ortiz clarified that this was not the case.

The bridge itself was not a two-way project as the extension now involved the building of a new bridge along the southbound/upstream side of the existing bridge.

This means that there is barely any need to stop traffic, he said.

Dayanghirang added that the bridge project has already “caused too much traffic” because of its “delay.”

The project was originally scheduled to be completed by April 2015.

However, the bridge could not be widened on both sides because a pipe bridge running parallel on the northbound side was not removed by the water utility, the Davao City Water District.

Wires from the poles being used by the Davao Light and Power Company were also not removed, which threatened cranes working on the project.

“That’s why we had to redesign the bridge,” Ortiz said. “And this takes time.”

The bridge construction was also delayed because of right of way issues.

Completion is slated April this year, two years from its original target completion date.

Ortiz, meanwhile, said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has already ordered through an administrative memorandum the stoppage of quarrying activities upstream of any infrastructure project.

The diversion road is a critical highway as it is an alternative route for motorists passing through Davao City.

The route avoids the downtown area and directly connects the city’s northern and southern areas.

However, traffic is increasingly becoming heavy along the Diversion Road.

The DPWH, meanwhile, is working on the construction of a coastal road along the city’s coast to provide another alternative for motorists.

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