HEAVY clogging of vehicular traffic in Opol town has prompted the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Northern Mindanao to temporarily stop one of its two major bridge construction projects in the municipality on Tuesday, February 21.

Since last week, DPWH-Northern Mindanao has received complaints about the heavy traffic along their two bridge-widening projects, one in Opol Bridge near Opol Market and another in Igpit Bridge near the junction of the National Highway and Opol-Bulua bypass road.

On Monday, Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Vicente Emano expressed his concern about the traffic congestion.

He earlier said that he is giving the local government unit of Opol one week to fix the traffic jam and if they fail to do so, the Provincial Government will take over the matter.

Emano also called out to the national office of the DPWH to tackle the problem because both bridges are located along Route 9 (Butuan City-Cagayan de Oro City-Iligan City Road) and are heavily affecting the travel time of commuters going to and from the city especially those who have flights in the Laguindingan Airport.

As a solution, DPWH spokesperson Vinah Mahinay said that their project engineer has decided that they would have to pause their construction in Opol bridge and prioritize the Igpit bridge.

The old Opol bridge that is sandwiched between the two newly constructed bridges, including these new bridges, are now open for all vehicles to pass through.

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) also sent additional officers to the Opol Bridge area to maintain order to among vehicles and pedestrians.

"We are now closely monitoring especially the vehicles taking in passengers at the wrong area. If this happens, the effect will be heavier on the vehicles on the back part of the traffic, worsening the traffic instead," said Oscar Salcedo, provincial director of LTO.

Mahinay said the construction of the new bridges is necessary to match the road widening projects that DPWH is doing in Cagayan de Oro City.

If there will be no major weather disturbances, the target completion date for both bridge widening project is on May 2017. Upon completion, the new bridges will be elevated and expanded to six lanes of traffic on a 60-meter road-right-of way.