MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte -- It takes a Swiss technology to permanently eliminate the threat of erosions near the foundation of Agas-Agas Bridge, the country’s tallest.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) field office here said the installation of slope stabilization control system is a priority project next year to curb the perennial problem of erosions.

DPWH Southern Leyte District Engineering Office chief Ma. Margarita Junia said the Swiss technology is seen as a permanent solution to rock fall and soil erosions near the bridge foundation.

"Based on our recent inspection, we have noticed problem on the slopes of Agas-Agas Bridge which, if neglected, may weaken its foundation," Junia said, adding that it needs P100 million to prevent rock fall and erosion threatening to ruin the bridge.

The Southern Leyte field office will be the first in Eastern Visayas to pilot rock netting technology developed by Swiss firm, Geobrugg.

Based in Switzerland, Geobrugg is the world leader in design and fabrication of protection systems using high-tensile steel wire mesh and netting.

Recently, Junia and DPWH Eastern Visayas Director Edgar Tabacon visited Switzerland to observe how soil stabilization system works.

Their systems provide highly sustainable solutions for securing unstable slopes or for strengthening existing retaining structures and other conventional materials. They also secures loose rocks, blocky rocks, rock spurs, overhangs or unstable rock formation with highly irregular surface structures.

"The works on Agas-Agas Bridge will kick off as soon as the proposed fund is approved. We will fast-track the rehabilitation since this vital infrastructure provides significant link to motorists travelling from Luzon to Mindanao," Junia said.

Located in Kahupian village in Sogod town, the Agas-Agas Bridge is a 90-minute drive from Tacloban, the capital city of Eastern Visayas. Sogod town, on the other hand, is 62.4 kilometers from Maasin City.

The bridge used to be one of the top attractions of Southern Leyte -- if not the region -- with tourism amenities like cable car, zip line and bungee jumping, among other extreme sport activities. However, these are no longer operating.

To date, the bridge is the tallest column bridge that the DPWH had constructed with the aid from the Japanese government. The 350-meter linear bridge is supported by two piers from the ground and has a height of 292 feet above the ground. (PNA/With PR)