PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, May 24, led the inauguration of the P345-million Davao River Bridge along Diversion Road in Barangay Ma-a, Davao City.
The project involved widening the existing bridge from two lanes to six lanes.
Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 11 spokesperson Dean Ortiz told SunStar Davao that the first phase of the project started in 2015 and was completed in 2017. The second phase started in 2017 and was completed Thursday.
"Nakumpleto siya within three years kay kadtong first year nagkaproblema sa right od way sa agianan ug nagka-encounter pud og technical problem which made us decide na ibalhin ang widening sa upstream na bahin sa bridge,” Ortiz said.
(The project was completed in three years because during the first year we encountered right-of-way and technical problems, which made us decide to move the widening at the upstream portion of the bridge.)
In 2015, an initial amount of P170 million was appropriated for the widening of additional two lanes at upstream side done by Vicente T. Lao Construction.
In 2017, another P175 million budget was appropriated for the widening of additional two lanes at downstream side under contract with the joint venture of Roma Construction and Development Corporation and Bislig Venture and Development Incorporated.
"We can see that this expansion benefits all because this will become a main road which will benefit motorists going north and south," Davao City Councilor Jesus Joseph Zozobrado III said. Zozobrado also sits as the vice chair in the city council's committee on traffic.
Davao City Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag said the project will really help improve the traffic situation in the city.
According to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the widening of the Davao River Bridge into six lanes will complement the existing six-lane Davao City Diversion Road and the newly opened Talomo-Puan Bypass Road, which will serve as direct access for traffic coming from Davao del Norte going to the provinces of Davao del Sur and Bukidnon.
As the Diversion Road functions as a direct route for large cargo trucks and buses without passing by the downtown area, the six lanes are expected to result to a faster traffic movement both in the city's central business district and Diversion road.
Through this widened bridge, large vehicles which are slow moving may no longer add to the traffic congestion in the city's center.
President Duterte said that the newly opened road is a vital artery that moves the traffic outside the central business district.
He also ordered the Highway Patrol Group to apprehend anyone caught illegally parking on the bridge.
“No parking, lalo na sa gabi (especially at night),” he said.
Since the bridge is located within the proximity of Davao's famous tourist destinations namely Davao Crocodile Park and Gap Farm, the Davao River Bridge widening project also targets to provide convenient access to the said sites.
Yesterday, the President rode a vehicle from Buhangin point to Ma-a point of the bridge. This was witnessed by officers of DPWH 11, directors of line government agencies, members of Sangguniang Panlungsod of Davao headed by Vice Mayor Bernie Al-ag and the contractors of the project.