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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Work starts on viaduct ‘gaps’

REPAIRS began yesterday on the expansion joints of the viaduct of the Cebu South Coastal Road, where gaps have been spotted.

Engineer Nicomedes Leonor said that despite the repairs, there’s nothing to be alarmed about.

The head of the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) Cebu City Engineering District also said there was no need to close the facility for the repairs, and that it remained strong and serviceable.

The defects were first pointed out on the Cebu Flash Report Facebook page, which showed a big gap on the expansion joints. “Was this done on purpose or is the bridge defective?” the account’s owner asked.

When asked to comment, DPWH 7 Director Ador Canlas told Sun.Star Cebu that he had this investigated before but that in order to allay fears, he directed the agency’s design engineers to inspect it again yesterday morning.

Engineer Nonie Paylado, chief of the DPWH 7 design department, said they already completed their second inspection on the expansion joints in the viaduct.

“It is our initial assessment that the existing expansion joints are in serviceable condition. Nothing alarming.

The section concerned is still very much passable to all types of vehicles,” Paylado said.

He observed that some angular bars that had been welded to the joints had detached because of wear and tear. Some were probably stolen.

Paylado also said that the DPWH Cebu City Engineering District, under Engineer Leonor, will repair the portions that are missing some bars.

“We will also initiate an inspection at the underside of the bridge starting tomorrow (today, Monday) just to check again the conditions of the bridge bearings,” Paylado said.

The repair team arrived some two hours after Sun.Star Cebu visited the area. Some of the angular bars that had been welded to hold the two concrete slabs of the expansion joints together were rotting, and some had been detached from the viaduct.

Until the emergency work on the viaduct is finished, the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) will continue to dispatch personnel to the affected area.

In a phone interview yesterday, lawyer Rafael Christopher Yap, CCTO chief, told Sun.Star Cebu that DPWH had asked for assistance with the traffic while the agency’s personnel weld the expansion joints.

“DPWH requested for our personnel to be there at 5 p.m. (Sunday). We’ve dispatched people there already to assist. If necessary, we’ll divert the traffic from both the north and south-bound sides leading to the viaduct,” he said.

The diversion, Yap said, would be done if necessary, but that they’ll try to avoid it so that drivers and commuters won’t suffer any additional inconvenience.

“But if there will be ongoing repair work, then we will have to put up the ‘No entry’ signs at the entries of the viaduct,” Yap said.
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